Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship (WiSE) projects evaluation webinar
On July 13, gender equity program owners across Australia and representatives from the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources attended the “Evaluating your WiSE project” webinar, hosted by the Office of the Women in STEM Ambassador. Isabelle Kingsley, author of the National Evaluation Guide, helped Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship (WiSE) program owners from the University of Canberra, Young Change Agents, Engineers Without Borders and Workforce Plus understand how to evaluate their programs.
WiSE projects recently received a major grant from the Australian Government Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources. WiSE programs tackle gender equity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). This year’s programs focus on equity in four areas: information technology, engineering, entrepreneurship and intersectionality.
Women in STEM Ambassador, Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith, said one of the priorities in her role is to address a culture of evaluation in gender equity programs. More systematic evaluation is needed, as research from the Australian National University finds that of 333 gender equity programs in Australia, only 3 have publicly available evaluations .
What is the Women in STEM Ambassador doing?
“To ensure that we are investing in programs that are having an impact, they must be evaluated”, said Professor Harvey-Smith. That’s why the Office created a National Evaluation Guide for STEM gender equity programs, and worked with the Australian Government to make evaluation a condition of funding for WiSE grants.
How to measure change
Systemic barriers to women and girls’ participation must be removed to achieve equity in STEM. Evaluation is key to measure whether programs are creating much needed change.
The number of people who attend an event or the number of workshops offered during a program are not a measure of change. It is important for anyone running a gender equity program to focus on the change their programs make, and to be transparent and honest when they share their findings. Evaluation is key to understanding if, and how, we are creating change towards a more equitable world.
Are you planning or working on an equity program? How do you know if your actions are working?
Evaluation is a key part of any program. By evaluating your program, you can understand if and how your actions are creating change. It also helps others understand what works and how to improve what doesn’t.
Join the Office of the Women in STEM Ambassador on August 24th for a free, “Evaluating your equity program” webinar. Gain practical advice to help you to evaluate your program.
The Women in STEM Ambassador and WiSE program are part of the Australian Government’s strategies to improve the participation of women and girls in STEM underpinned by the Advancing Women in STEM Strategy, the Women in STEM Decadal Plan, and the 2020 Action Plan.
- 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