Online resource to help boost diversity in STEM fields

The federal government is preparing to launch a new education resource to get more females studying science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

Trialling the Girls in STEM Toolkit with high school students in western Sydney, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the online resource would make it easy for all students across the country to access information about potential career pathways in STEM.

“Boosting the confidence and engagement of our next generation of STEM superstars will have a positive economic flow-on effect for Australia, as we compete in a tech-driven, global economy,” Andrews said.

“STEM is everywhere – it shapes our everyday lives and is critical to jobs of the future, but there is currently a big achievement gap between girls and boys in STEM in schools.

“The Morrison Government is determined to resolve this issue and ensure girls and boys thrive in STEM fields, from early education through to the tertiary years and beyond.”

The program builds on other Women in STEM initiatives announced in the 2019-20 Budget, including continued support for the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) initiative and funding for a national digital awareness-raising initiative to increase visibility of girls and women in STEM.

Developed by Education Services Australia, the Girls in STEM Toolkit includes articles, case studies, podcasts and tools for girls to understand how their existing skills and interests link to STEM study pathways and, ultimately, exciting and challenging careers.

Andrews was joined by Federal Member for Lindsay Melissa McIntosh and the students of Jamison High School in Penrith for the road test.

“This toolkit will be such a great resource to help parents, teachers, career counsellors and others to explain to girls the opportunities that exist in STEM, and the types of careers they can pursue. As Western Sydney grows, it’s my priority that kids in Lindsay are being educated in the jobs of the future,” McIntosh said.

“Together, these initiatives will ensure boys and girls in Western Sydney and around Australia have the opportunity to take up the rewarding, high-income jobs ahead of them.”

The toolkit will be officially launched on 12 September at the “It Takes a Spark” conference in Melbourne.