Wednesday, 09 May 2018 05:44

Budget sets out $4.5m for women's STEM education, jobs Featured


The Coalition Government has allocated $4.5 million over four years in the Federal Budget to encourage women to take up science, technology, engineering and mathematics education and careers.

According to the Budget papers, the money will be apportioned beginning in 2018-19.

A sum of $1.8 million will be available in the first year, followed by $1.1 million (2019-20), and $800,000 in each of 2020-21 and 2021-22.

The funding will be used towards:

  • the Women in Science Strategy;
  • a decade-long plan for women in science, to provide a roadmap for sustained increases in women’s STEM participation;
  • the work of the new Women in STEM Ambassador who will focus on promoting STEM in schools and to school-aged girls; and
  • the development and distribution of a STEM Choices resources kit to address the under-representation of girls in STEM education.

Commenting on the funds allocation, Sassoon Grigorian, the head of public policy at Salesforce, said this was a move in the right direction.

“The government is making a move in the right direction, with the commitment to a 10-year plan to increase female involvement in STEM education and careers. Now is the time to invest in improving female participation in the digital economy, which will benefit from a more diverse workforce.

“Industry has a responsibility to back the government’s focus on female participation in STEM and invest in programs which will move the needle. This is why we’re working with Schools Plus to bring industry insight and exposure to low socio-economic schools across the country as part of the Circle the Schools program. We’re calling for more technology businesses to engage with the education system and support the formulation of the 10-year strategy.

“The 10-year strategy should leverage free online training platforms which allow women to gain the skills needed to access the technology jobs of the future. We’ve seen trailblazers, like Rebecca Aichholzer, already using Salesforce’s Trailhead to gain the technology skills needed for a successful job in technology.”

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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