The federal government will not release new funding until the time comes Pathway to Diversity in STEM Review was completed at the end of this year, but Girl Geek Academy (GGA) co-founder Sarah Moran, that’s waiting too long to fund new programs.
The Academy is calling for swift action to support women in STEM careers.
“With Women in STEM programs under review for most of this year, we currently do not expect any new funding commitments until 2024,” said Moran.
“The third regnal year is far too late to wait; we need action now.”
While Girl Geek Academy supports the review of Women in STEM programs in hopes that it will bring in more funding in the long run, Moran said the short-term reality is that women and girls are being left to fend for themselves.
“We are calling for solid investment in May budget programs to secure much-needed support for women in the industry to ‘rise as we climb’ – we urgently need to get young girls through the pipeline,” she said.
Gender inequality in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) persists worldwide
Deloitte has released a report for SBE Australia showing that 22% of Australian startups are founded by women, but only 0.7% of funding went to female-only companies in FY22.
The UN reports that only 28% of engineering graduates and 40% of computer science and computer science graduates are women.
Gender equality and empowerment of women and girls is an important pursuit of the Agenda 2030 for sustainable development.
The Deloitte study found that the disparity in funding is not attributed to potential investment returns or corporate fundamentals, but rather embedded gender biases.
The practice of pattern matching – where investors agree on how similar a potential opportunity is to previous opportunities – must be overcome to increase investment in women-founded companies. Shifting the financing hub requires structural and behavioral change.
Girl Geek Academy is a movement that aims to get one million women and girls into tech careers by 2030.
They have trained over 1000 high school students in AI in virtual classes without government aid, Moran hoped a change of government would bring in new funding to support the growth of similar programs. GGA successfully received the inaugural Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship fellowships in 2016.
“We used this money to build the successful #MissMakesCode program and teach 1,000 teachers how to code in the classroom. Only four rounds of this funding have been deployed in the past seven years. That’s just not enough,” Moran said.
While the October 2022 budget earmarked $5.8 million over five years for the Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship program, at the same time, $3.9 million was cut over two years to support the transition of women in the middle from the career to the technical workforce under the March 2022-2023 budget.
Moran said there has been a drought of programs like this as most of the organizations, mostly run by women, have not survived the effects of the pandemic.
“Girl Geek Academy lost 99.9% of our cash flow overnight when COVID hit, and the only reason we are still around is because I went to get a job to keep us alive,” she said.
One of the “Girl Geek Academy – AI High” classes they taught during the lockdown.
“We don’t even get the emotional support from the government to continue. If the government doesn’t care, why should we?
The call to action comes just weeks away from International Women’s Day on March 8.
“This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is ‘cracking the code: innovation for a gender equal future’. So if any of those ministers want to come to an International Women’s Day event, including the Prime Minister, and don’t back it up with new funding, they’re actually worse than the previous government because they won’t have anything new. said Moran
“We need more than words and cupcakes this year; we need the government to stand behind us so we can all crack the code on gender equality together.”
Comment has been sought from the federal government and the office of Secretary of Science Ed Husic.