With the world becoming an increasing technological space, there have ben various issues regarding the representation of women in the science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) fields. To combat this gender bias, the government is providing $8 million in grants to support women in both STEM and Entrepreneurship.
Under the new project these grants will be used to support projects that aim to foster an interest of STEM and entrepreneurship in women and girls, while developing innovation and entrepreneurial skills to build professional networks.
The applications are open for grants of up to $250,000.
According to the press release from Senator the Hon. Michaelia Cash, The Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship program aims to contribute to gender equality and economic growth by driving systemic change and improving career opportunities and pathways for women.
While only one in four IT graduates, and one in ten engineering graduates are women, there is an outstanding under-representation of women in STEM fields.
Erin Watson Lynn, CEO at Generate Worldwide and inspiring entrepreneurs at Dice Kids told SBS Hindi, “Investing in women in STEM and entrepreneurship is important because it creates an opportunity to increase women’s participation in the labour market, decrease the gender pay gap, and leads to overall improved economic and social outcomes for women.”
“Historically, women have been underrepresented in STEM and Entrepreneurship, this investment will lead to a cyclical effect whereby increasing the number of female role models will lead to more women in these fields.”
“As we move to a knowledge based economy and with the government’s ideas boom agenda, it’s important that women are given the opportunity to fully participate in that shift and make sure women aren’t left further behind,” she says.
To add to this women occupy fewer than one in five senior researcher positions in Australian universities and research institutes, and only make up around one-quarter of the STEM workforce overall.
This program not only provides funding for eligible organisations to develop their current programs, but it also provides women with empowerment and opens doors for networking and collaboration.
The $8 million program is a means of building on other National Innovation and Science Agenda initiatives designed to support girls and women.
Over the next three years the Australian government will provide an extra $2 million in funding in order to expand the Science in Australia Gender Equity project (SAGE), led by the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of Technological Science and Engineering.
The aim for SAGE is to empower cultural change in academic organisations by developing a culture of inclusivity, driving away gender bias in the work place and in academia.
Organisations or consortiums that have an interest in supporting women in STEM and entrepreneurship can find more information on the grants, including application forms at http://www.business.gov.au/