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Celebrating women in STEM

8 March 2016

Marking International Women’s Day, Assistant Minister for Science Karen Andrews has acknowledged the contribution of Australian women to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

“Australia’s female scientists are amongst the world’s best and we have stellar researchers like the 2015 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science winner, Dr Jane Elith,” Mrs Andrews said.

“Dr Elith was awarded The Frank Fenner Prize For Life Scientist of the Year for her outstanding contributions to applied ecology and is one of the most cited environment and ecology researchers in the world.

“We have so many talented women working in STEM in Australia and internationally, but as we celebrate their many achievements we also must look to areas where gender equality is still lagging behind.

“We need a concerted, national effort to overcome the cultural and organisational factors that discourage girls and women from studying and working in STEM.”

Currently only one in four IT graduates and less than one in eight engineering graduates are women.

Women occupy fewer than one fifth of senior researcher positions in Australian universities and research institutes and make up only around a quarter of the STEM workforce overall.

“We want to encourage women and girls to embark on and remain in STEM careers,” Mrs Andrews said.

“The Government is investing more than $13 million through the National Innovation and Science Agenda, to encourage more women to embark on and remain in, STEM related careers.

“Australia has come so far in gender equality and there are many more opportunities available to women than in the past.  However, we must continue this vital work to create a stronger future for women in STEM.”

Media contact: Mrs Andrews' office 02 6277 4360

Department media: media [at] industry.gov.au