Academy welcomes government strategy to advance women in STEM

April 07, 2019
Dr Katie Sizeland uses synchrotron based techniques to investigate the nanostructure of collagen biomaterials. Image: ANSTO

The Australian Academy of Science has applauded the Australian Government’s ‘Advancing Women in STEM’ strategy released today by Minister for Industry, Science and Technology the Hon Karen Andrews MP.

Advancing Women in STEM responds to the issues outlined in the Women in STEM Decadal Plan released on 1 April 2019 by the Academy of Science and the Academy of Technology and Engineering, and outlines the Government’s commitment and the role it plays in supporting increased gender equity across the STEM sector.

The Academy supports the three key areas of focus presented in the strategy, which are closely aligned with the Women in STEM Decadal Plan: enabling STEM potential through education; supporting women in STEM careers; and making women in STEM visible.

The Government's women in STEM strategy also outlines the broad range of programs and initiatives led or supported by the Australian Government to support girls and women in STEM.

This includes $1.8 million new funding announced in the 19/20 Federal Budget to support the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) initiative, a unique transformative national gender equity program designed to achieve sustained change via ongoing evaluation and a national accreditation framework.

President of the Academy of Science Professor John Shine AC said that the Australian Government has a leadership role as an employer of women with STEM qualifications; as a provider of STEM education; and in its role in developing policies and funding programs to achieve gender equity. 

“The Australian Government’s unique role in modelling and encouraging best practice is a powerful lever for change.

“The Advancing Women in STEM strategy clearly articulates a leadership role for the Australian Government and acknowledges the importance of working with stakeholders across the STEM ecosystem to achieve gender equity in STEM in Australia.

“It is particularly pleasing to see the government’s ongoing commitment to the SAGE program which is bringing about sustained change in the higher education and research sector.

“The Academy applauds the development of best-practice guidelines for government grant programs so that they are administered in such a way that does not disadvantage women.

 “To meet the rising demand for STEM skills, attracting women and girls to STEM and providing an environment for them to thrive and progress is a shared responsibility of government, academia, the education system, industry and the community.

“The Academy of Science looks forward to working closely with the Australian Government to deliver a strategic, sustained and evidence-based approach to tackling gender inequity in STEM,” Professor Shine concluded.

The Women in STEM Decadal Plan was developed by the Australian Academy of Science in collaboration with the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering and offers a vision and six opportunities to guide government, academia, industry, the education sector and the community as they go about taking actions to build the strongest STEM workforce possible to support Australia’s prosperity.

© 2019 Australian Academy of Science

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