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Indo-Pacific experts make the case for women in STEM

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Practical strategies to increase gender equity and women’s economic advancement through science, technology, engineering and maths have been discussed by experts from across government, industry and academia in Brisbane.

Around 70 men and women from across the Indo-Pacific region attended the two-day ‘Making the Case for APEC Women in STEM‑Partnership and Impact’ workshop.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the event helped identify what can be done to advance gender equity in STEM fields.

“There is untapped potential for public and private sector partnerships to advance and sustain the crucial ‘women in STEM pipeline’,” Minister Andrews said.

The workshop is part of a suite of events taking place during the APEC Chief Science Advisors and Equivalents meeting, which runs from 22 to 26 October 2018 in Brisbane.

The meeting includes a high-level Industry Roundtable on Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship and also features an APEC Startup Training workshop, led by the United States in partnership with Australia, targeted at science and technology entrepreneurs from vulnerable APEC communities.

“With the right policies that support inclusivity, the region can drive cultural and social change for gender equity, and strengthen Australia’s research, scientific and business capability,” Minister Andrews said.

“Australia’s future success depends on encouraging the next generation of scientists, regardless of gender, and increasing female participation in STEM will strengthen our research, scientific and business capability.”

The Government is committed to improving gender equity in STEM through the recent appointment of a Women in STEM Ambassador, announcement of a Girls in STEM Toolkit, and participation in roundtable sessions on the Decadal Plan for Women in STEM.

These initiatives form part of a $4.5 million Government plan in the 2018-19 Budget, encouraging science and industry sectors to take ownership of a comprehensive strategy to increase female participation in STEM.

The workshop featured high-profile Australian speakers, including 2018 Australian of the Year Professor Michelle Simmons, 2018 APEC Science Prize for Innovation, Research and Education Award winner, Associate Professor Madhu Bhaskaran and 2017 Victorian Businesswoman of the Year, Michelle Gallaher.

Source: Australian Government

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