May 24, 2017
Local young women who dream of embarking upon careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) may have found the support they need, with funding awarded to the formation of a new Albury-Wodonga Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (W-STEM) group.
Albury Wodonga YWCA, via the Border Trust Community Grant program, this week awarded almost $5000 to North-East Local Learning and Employment Network’s (NELLEN) new W-STEM project, which aims to not only connect women already working in STEM vocations, but also explore ways to increase opportunities and support for young women interested in pursuing such careers.
The W-STEM project builds on Federal Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Training Karen Andrews’ visit to the border, during which a Women in STEM breakfast first brought together women already working in STEM with school students keen to learn more about STEM careers.
NELLEN chief executive officer Bev Hoffmann said there had been much discussion during the breakfast of some of the barriers affecting young women entering these vocations, and the W-STEM project aimed to address these.
“I think we’re well aware, as a community, that women are unrepresented in STEM fields, and that there are social and cultural barriers to women entering what Is still considered a traditionally male-dominated space,” Ms Hoffmann said.
“There is a distinct lack of visible female role models in the STEM sphere, and so gender biases and stereotypes tend to still hold sway.
“This project seeks to bring local women together, whether they have long and established careers in STEM, or are just starting out, so that they can provide each other with support, inspiration, links to new networks, information and skills to strengthen women’s contribution to the STEM field.
“With this funding behind the project, we are now able to start sourcing expressions of interest from women keen to become involved in the development of the community of practice, and to start working with these women to decide what form this group might take and how often it needs to meet in order to be most effective for those involved.
“Ultimately, we want the Albury-Wodonga region to be known as a place that cultivates and supports great female STEM practitioners, and makes a really solid contribution to these fields.
“The W-STEM project is absolutely critical to that.”
Girls and women interested in being involved in the W-STEM project should contact NELLEN by emailing [email protected] or phoning(02) 6056 0966 for further details.
For more information, contact:
Bev Hoffmann (NELLEN CEO)
(02) 6056 0966
Lauren Salathiel (NELLEN communications officer)
(02) 6056 0966