The Women in STEM Ambassador

Who are we?

The Office of the Women in STEM Ambassador is an Australian Government initiative to address gender equity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Led by Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith, the Office promotes awareness of STEM careers to young people, parents and carers, and works with educators to challenge gender stereotypes and promote inclusive and engaging STEM education for all. 

We work with stakeholders across government, education and training, research and industry sectors to drive cultural and systemic change to institutions and workplaces that remove structural barriers and enable the full participation of women and girls in STEM education and careers.

Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith
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In October 2018, the Australian Government appointed Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith as the inaugural Women in STEM Ambassador, a position outlined in the 2018-19 Budget as part of a $4.5 million package to encourage more women into STEM education and careers.

The Office is funded by a Commonwealth Grant and is hosted at the University of New South Wales. The work of the Office is closely aligned with the Australian Government’s Advancing Women in STEM Strategy and the Women in STEM Decadal Plan.

What have we achieved so far?

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parents, carers and educators reached through Future You
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Our Vision

We are a leader in action for gender equity in STEM, encouraging and empowering girls to pursue STEM study and careers and advocating for systemic and cultural change across the sector to retain women in STEM and drive innovation. 

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Our Purpose

To increase the participation of women in STEM in Australia by encouraging women to pursue STEM study and careers and working with the STEM sector to eliminate barriers to gender equity.

Two pillars drive the achievement of our purpose

Attract - website

Attract

Increasing the visibility of the Women in STEM Ambassador as a role model

Encouraging and empowering girls to pursue STEM studies and careers

Supporting teachers and parents/carers to encourage girls’ STEM interests

Increasing awareness of the barriers to girls’ participation in STEM in education

Increasing the visibility of diverse women in STEM role models

Raising awareness of the diverse and exciting career possibilities in STEM

 

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Retain and Progress

Increasing the recognition of the Women in STEM Ambassador as an expert in gender equity in STEM

Increasing awareness of the barriers to women’s participation in STEM

Engaging with stakeholders across the sector to drive action to address gender inequity

Supporting the sector to address inequities which prevent organisations from retaining women in STEM fields

Increasing the awareness of an intersectional lens when addressing the barriers faced in STEM

 

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How can we help?

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Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects are not just for scientists and engineers – they are for everyone. By learning how to think creatively and critically, problem solve and to work collaboratively, students will equip themselves with integral skills for jobs of the future.

STEM is fun, interesting and diverse and can lead to many exciting careers, such as video game designers, veterinarians and even builders 

Students can explore STEM subjects and careers through the events, videos and resources here. 

Find out how you can change the world with STEM on The Girls in STEM Toolkit website.

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) learning helps children to develop skills in problem solving, critical and creative thinking and collaboration. These life skills underpin new and exciting careers of the future. 

Participation rates of women in engineering, computing and physics in high-school, tertiary education and VET are low. Parents and carers play a vital role in influencing children’s perception and confidence around STEM subjects and careers. The language used in conversations, books they read, toys they play with and the technology they use, all impact on choices that children make.

More than ever before, parents and carers are busy supporting, guiding and engaging with their children’s education. Useful resources, events and videos to help engage children with STEM can be found here.

Discover ways to get kids interested in STEM on The Girls in STEM Toolkit website.

Educators play a critical role in creating learning environments that encourage girls’ participation in STEM subjects. They also influence the study and career choices of young women.

You will find links to research about gender equity in STEM education, resources to encourage girls’ participation in STEM and information about STEM careers here.

We have developed National Evaluation Guidelines to assess outcomes and impacts of programs that support women and girls’ participation in STEM. Find out more and access the guidelines here.

Create an inspiring STEM environment with The Girls in STEM Toolkit resources.

Employers of STEM-skilled workers have a shared responsibility to reduce attrition of women from the STEM workforce. This can be achieved by removing barriers to women’s career progression and creating inclusive and respectful workplaces.

The Office of the Women in STEM Ambassador has developed a National Evaluation Guide to assess the outcomes and impacts of programs that support women and girl’s participation in STEM. Find out more and access the Evaluation Guide here.

A national peer-reviewed trial of anonymised ranking in the assessment of research funding and research proposals with Australian STEM research organisations is also being conducted by the Office. Find out more here.

Useful resources about gender equity in Australia’s STEM workforce and measures that workplaces can implement can be found here.

Our four streams of work

Education and Outreach

Future You is a national initiative that raises awareness of STEM careers and provides role models to help kids dream up a future version of themselves in a STEM career. It aims to create a positive shift in the perception of STEM study and careers.

Advisory and Advocacy

The Office has an advisory and advocacy role across education, industry, research, and government to: identify and support existing gender equity activities and communicate the case for change for gender equity in STEM.

Research

Isabelle Kingsley, Research Associate, leads a national study that examines the effects of anonymising the assessment of research grant proposals to reduce unconscious gender bias. The results will provide a strong evidence base on more equitable practices.

Evaluation

The National Evaluation Guide enables program leaders to conduct meaningful program evaluations and share them publicly. Since publication in May 2020, the Guide has been downloaded by over 360 people in Australia and internationally. 

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