According to a new national survey of 2,000 people aged between 12 and 25, young Australians are “keen” on pursuing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects and careers.
STEM skills were also seen as important to get a good job, according to those surveyed.
Despite the encouraging results, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the survey shows there’s more to be done to inspire girls and young women to embrace STEM study and through to their careers.
"As an engineer myself, it’s very encouraging the study found our youth think scientists make a positive difference to the world, and young women want to use STEM to make a difference," Minister Andrews said.
“Females – more than males – are driven to study STEM subjects by an ambition to change the world, but interest and confidence in these subjects is strongly divided along gender lines.”
For years 9 and 10, 70 per cent of boys chose to study at least one STEM elective, compared with 32 per cent for girls.
“The Liberal National government is determined to increase the participation of girls and women in STEM fields,” Minister Andrews said.
“Our range of initiatives include the appointment of award-winning astrophysicist Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith as Australia’s first Women in STEM Ambassador with a key goal to raise the profile of girls and women in STEM in order to increase participation.
“In addition, the Girls in STEM Toolkit would help girls in upper primary and secondary school to understand the value of the subjects and careers open to them and provide pathways to achieve their goals.”
The federal government committed $4.5 million over four years to "support long-term strategic approaches to encourage more women to pursue STEM education and careers" as part of the 2018-19 budget.
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