Australian universities join hands to address STEM gender gap

Image credit: University of Adelaide

The University of Adelaide, RMIT University (RMIT) and the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) are set to team up on a national Women in STEM (WiSTEM) outreach program that aims to close the gender gap in STEM subjects in primary and secondary schools.

The Department of Industry, Science, and Resources of the Federal Government granted the project $995,664 in funding.

The said initiative is one of the 17 applications that received funding in the latest round of the Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship (WiSE) programme.

Katrina Falkner, the University of Adelaide’s executive dean of the Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology, said that through this project, best practices from the three universities will be compiled for effective, long-lasting, and scaleable participation throughout the WiSTEM pipeline.

“The three universities are leaders in delivering multi-touchpoint school outreach with embedded evaluation reaching students (primary/secondary) and their key influencers (families/educators),” Falkner noted.

Key activities of the initiative include the national scaling of effective outreach programming to address the long-term change required in the STEM gender gap.

The project also aims to build teacher capacity by developing inclusive STEM teaching professional development and leveraging existing resources.

Lastly, the program will build a national network of STEM school outreach practitioners, through a national community of practice.

“This project provides the opportunity for three well known universities to lead by example and support further STEM engagement despite limited resourcing nationally,” said Professor Falkner.

International Day of Women and Girls in Science will be celebrated on Saturday, 11 February 2023.