A spark of innovation – inspiring more girls in STEM

An innovative toolkit funded by the Australian Government will encourage girls to study and pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). The Girls in STEM Toolkit (The GiST) is a new website packed with information, resources, activities and a career quiz to build girls’ confidence in STEM.

The initiative is part of ongoing efforts by the Australian Government to address gender bias and stereotyping in science and maths, which begins in primary school and continues through secondary school to university and beyond.

The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science engaged Education Services Australia (ESA) to develop and deliver the toolkit, which will help school-age girls to understand the diverse range of STEM careers available to them.

The new GiST toolkit was officially launched at the ‘It Takes a Spark Conference’, held at Thomas Carr College in Tarniet, Victoria. Andrew Smith, CEO of Education Services Australia, explained the importance of the new initiative.

‘We are so pleased to have the opportunity to work with the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science to help address the critical issue of under-representation of girls in STEM at school, university and the workplace.’

A recently published research report, Women in STEM Decadel Plan, shows that over 80 per cent of employees agree that STEM qualifications are valuable to their workplace, but women make up just 16 per cent of the STEM skilled workforce.

Australia’s first Women in STEM Ambassador, Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith, is a strong advocate of the new website and says “I’m delighted to see the Girls in STEM Toolkit go live, a website full of resources for female students to explore the A-Z of STEM subjects and careers. I hope this website will enable girls to think broadly about the diverse career options in STEM and provide visible role models in the workforce.”

The GiST provides practical resources and activities that support female students, teachers and families to feel confident and enthusiastic about STEM. The GiST features a STEM career quiz, which matches students’ interests to STEM study pathways and careers. There are also real-life case studies, interviews with professionals, networking and school and community events.

The GiST also offers resources to help teachers and school leaders inspire girls to feel confident and enthusiastic about STEM, including lesson plans and information about creating gender-inclusive learning environments, mitigating bias and encouraging whole-school STEM engagement.

/Public Release.