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Budget 2021-22: Women in STEM Ambassador welcomes funding to support gender equity in STEM

The 2021-22 Budget released on Tuesday 11 May announced important measures to help Australia shift the dial on gender equity in STEM. This includes:  

  • $42.4 million to support over 230 women to pursue higher STEM qualifications by co-funding scholarships in partnership with industry. 
  • $600,000 for the Women in STEM Ambassador to develop an evaluation toolkit for gender equity programs. 

Through the Boosting the Next Generation of Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Program, women will be awarded scholarships to pursue higher STEM qualifications through partnerships with industry. The program will support more women to obtain STEM qualifications and enter the workforce.   

Funding for an evaluation toolkit for gender equity programs will change the way programs are planned and evaluated. Evaluation is a key priority of the Women in STEM Decadal Plan. Research by the Australian National University found that of 337 gender equity in STEM programs in Australia in 2018, only 7 had publicly available evaluations [1]The toolkit will provide a consistent national framework to support program owners to find out what works to attract, retain and progress girls and women in STEM. The toolkit will complement the Women in STEM Ambassador’s free evaluation resources, such as the ‘Evaluating STEM gender equity programs: A guide to effective program evaluation. 

Women in STEM Ambassador Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith welcomes this measure“The evaluation toolkit will be a cornerstone of our evidence-based approach.  

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Media contact: Karen Keech – Established Media / 0411052408 

References:

  1. McKinnon M. (2020). The absence of evidence of the effectiveness of Australian gender equity in STEM initiatives. Australian Journal of Social Issues. Advanced online publication. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajs4.142 

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