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35+ Initiatives encouraging more young women into STEMM

July 26, 2021

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We all remember those brightly lit and color-coded aisles at the toy store. The pink one with all the stacks of dolls and princesses for girls. While the blue aisle was for boys, and featured trucks and superheroes. Just innocent branding for kids’ toys, right? Wrong. It’s these early gendered stereotypes that have led to statistics like “women only represent less than a third of STEMM roles.

A study of Lego sets showed that those targeted for boys promoted building expertise and skilled professions. While sets targeting girls encouraged caring for others, socializing, and beauty. These are the first pebbles that build into the blockers limiting the skills young women will learn in the future. Because one of the primary reasons for such a meager representation of women in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Medicine) is a lack of practical experiences.

But change is coming. Some of the WORK180 Endorsed Employers are leading that change, and we wanted to share the initiatives and programs they’re running to support and encourage more young women to pursue STEMM careers.

Contents: Helping their employee’s families | Helping girls in elementary school | Helping girls in high school | Creating partnerships | Tertiary scholarships | College mentors | Graduate programs

To help women find a workplace that will work for them, we prescreen employers on flexible working, pay equity, paid parental leave, and more. Find your next role on the WORK180 job board.

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Ericsson’s Bring Your Daughter to Work Day

As part of the Diversity Awareness Month within Ericsson, Bring Your Daughter to Work Day was established. This initiative aims to empower and encourage girls aged 7-14 years old to take on STEMM units and hopefully inspire them to pursue a career in STEMM. This one-day event included presentations from their internal staff and coding workshops for girls.

“I think we should encourage girls to learn and explore science from a very early age. For example, I take my little 4-year-old and 2-year-old to science works regularly. My mother did something similar and used to take me to the planetarium. Science/ Technology is for all, not for men or women, so why should the careers be for one or other?”
Raminder Sharma | Solution Architect at Ericsson

CGI’s STEMM from Home activity packs

During lockdown CGI recognized the difficulties that parents faced balancing remote working and childcare, so they launched STEMM from Home activity packs. The packs are aimed at students aged 6-14 and cover all aspects of STEMM from coding, cybersecurity, environment stability, and robotics. They include activities with technical, practical, and physical elements to keep young minds busy and to open up previously undiscovered career options in STEMM.

WORK180 and SuperDaughter Day Event

SuperDaughter Day is an initiative run by WORK180 with the aim of encouraging girls aged 5 to 12 to explore the exciting world of STEMM.

The girls participate in a wide range of hands-on activities and meet inspiring women role models from the STEMM industry, all in a fun and engaging environment where they become Superheroes along with their parents.


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Splunk’s Program teaching girls to code

Splunk ANZ is involved with the TechGirls Movement Foundation. Together, they’re helping elementary school girls with app design and a coding competition through their Splunk for Good community.

Western Power’s Circuit Breakers Program

The Circuit Breakers Program is a term-long STEMM program for elementary school students in Years 4-6. It can be run online at any time and teaches students about the electricity network, how to code, and gets them designing a future town complete with electrical assets! Western Power supplies schools with mentors from the business as role models for the types of opportunities in STEMM. And many of these mentors are female. At least 2,000 students have been through the program with great feedback from teachers and students alike.


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Cummins’ Try a Trade Day

Cummins is working with Clontarf Aboriginal College and Girls Academy in Perth to run a “Try a Trade” day for girls at the college. Clontarf College caters for Indigenous students in Years 7 to 12. Girls Academy is a school-based mentoring and leadership program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls. They have technicians that are women talk about their careers and why it’s not so scary to work in a male-dominated industry such as heavy diesel mechanics.

South32’s Girls Focus on Mining initiative

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The Girls Focus on Mining initiative is a partnership between South32 and Curtin University’s Western Australian School of Mines, and is designed to highlight careers in mining for young women. In early 2021, a group of 23 young women from 13 high schools spent a day at South32’s Worsley Alumina operation, getting an insight into what a career in resources could look like. Mining engineers, metallurgists, cybersecurity specialists, and geologists are just some of the endless STEMM opportunities in mining that were showcased.

Downer’s Project with Roseville College

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The purpose of the project is to build a pipeline of talent from school to industry through education, with a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Trades (STEM+T). Teachers from Roseville College were delighted to gain knowledge of some real-life applications of the subjects they teach and how to challenge the unconscious beliefs and stereotypes about career preferences with their students.

Alcoa’s Prospects Program

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The Alcoa Pinjarra Prospects Program was created in 2016 with a two-fold focus:

  1. Connecting Alcoa with young women potentially considering careers in the resources sector.
  2. Helping Pinjarra Senior High School increase participation and attainment among girls in entrepreneurship, science, technology, English, arts, and mathematics subjects.

The program is designed specifically for Year 10 students to help inform and influence subject selection.

Similar supportive schemes:

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Transurban’s QATSIF program

  • CSL partners with In2Science, supporting the National STEMM School Education Strategy by promoting STEMM as a career of choice for high-school-aged children.
  • J.P. Morgan’s Summer of Learning series consisted of multiple 1-hour webinars, open to pupils in Year 10 and above.
  • Transurban’s QATSIF is a program open to Year 11 Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students with an interest in STEMM subjects and careers.
  • Woolworths connected with over 100 high school girls at a Women in Tech event to talk through what a career in UX (user experience) and Design looks like.
  • Microsoft’s Girls in STEMM Initiative focuses its programs on Year 7-10 students, where they’ve found the highest rates of young women disengaging from STEMM subjects.

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Microsoft’s partnership with Girl Geek Academy

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During the pandemic, in partnership with Girl Geek Academy, Microsoft launched a free, scalable, technical curriculum to support Year 7-10 girls to build AI and Coding skills. The goal is to enable girls to participate without geographical or socioeconomic barriers. In particular, the ‘Microsoft Mondays’ program saw phenomenal engagement, including 407 girls and 151 schools across Australia.

Safety Culture’s partnership with Startmate Fellowship & CSIRO

Safety Culture works deeply with the Startmate Fellowship program to provide mentorship to women from diverse backgrounds and create pathways for them to land their dream job in tech start-ups. They also partner with the CSIRO to pair STEMM professionals with teachers who can help them better understand the curriculum they are teaching to students.

Lloyds Banking Group’s partnership with The Athena Hackathon

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As part of their partnership with The Athena Hackathon*, Lloyds Banking Group hosted a panel discussion with their women in senior leadership positions and tech colleagues (focused on building careers in technology). Lloyds Banking Group also host events throughout the year such as the Ada Lovelace panel discussion, celebrating the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and math.

*The Athena Hackathon, shines a spotlight on amazing young women and non-binary people in technology 18+ years.

Similar partnerships:

  • Canva has also partnered with the CSIRO’s ‘Generation STEMM’ program, a 10-year initiative to encourage more high school students to enter the STEMM field.
  • This year, Ericsson has engaged with In2Science to help increase engagement in science and math. The goal is to improve student outcomes and boost student participation in STEMM, particularly for underrepresented groups.

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Boral’s Women in Engineering scholarships

Boral is a proud partner of the University of NSW (UNSW) and the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). The aim of the partnership is to attract women that could be eligible for a scholarship in engineering.

Woolworths Group‘s sponsorship with UNSW

Woolworths Group‘s data science practice has recently launched a sponsorship with the UNSW Business Society. They’re proud to boast a diverse range of students within their member base, with backgrounds in areas such as engineering, computer science, actuarial studies, information systems, economics, etc.

Similar scholarships:


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Mott MacDonald’s Office Open Days

Mott MacDonald offices host Open Day events for university students annually. Senior colleagues in each location share with students their own experiences as a woman working in the engineering and project management industry. They provide insight into their career journeys, what drives them, and the exciting projects they are working on. These events are an excellent forum for women in STEMM to gain an understanding of what a career with Mott MacDonald could look like, ask questions, and seek advice and guidance about their own future career path.

J.P. Morgan’s Women in Quantitative Research Mentoring Program

Launched in 2020, this mentorship program is a unique opportunity for Masters and Ph.D. students in quantitative and data science disciplines to build the skills required for a successful career in Quantitative Finance. Participants learn how mathematical modeling and coding are employed in the financial services industry through one-to-one mentorship and continuous guidance.

Transurban’s FEET mentor program

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Transurban’s FEET (Females Excelling in Engineering and Technology) mentor program engages with women studying engineering and technology disciplines. They are partnered up with mentors in their chosen field for a program that lasts 12 weeks. FEET participants also receive ongoing development support and guidance through various professional growth opportunities, such as networking with some of the best in the business.

Similar mentorship programs:

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Hatch’s UQ Women in Engineering Event

  • Canva mentors women undertaking STEMM studies through partnerships with student societies, such as UNSW Women in Engineering Society and University of Queensland’s Ladies in Technology Society.
  • Hatch has several close relationships with leading universities and industry groups, such as the WIMARQ Mentoring program. It also sponsors key society events including the UQ Women in Engineering breakfast and career fairs.
  • Splunk ANZ is actively engaged as partners with the Lucy Mentoring program with UTS, which aims to encourage young women in the UTS engineering faculty to pursue careers in STEMM.
  • Safety Culture has relations with the Sydney University Computer Science society and is looking towards more partnerships in the future.

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Mott MacDonald’s Propel graduate program

Mott MacDonald’s graduate and internship program, Propel, provides early career professionals with learning and development opportunities. They participate in cross-border workshops, lunch and learn presentations, one-on-one sessions with leaders, and mentorship programs. Propel encourages the women in STEMM in the business to lead and excel in an environment where they are recognized for their expertise and contributions, regardless of their discipline and profession.

Port of Felixstowe’s Engineering Graduate Program

Over the coming months, the Port of Felixstowe will be launching a two-year Engineering Graduate Program. Historically, the maritime industry has attracted more men than women, particularly in STEMM roles. Their graduate program is purposely designed to support graduates in fast-tracking their careers within STEMM. It does this by ensuring that they develop the skills, knowledge, and experience to support them in their career.

“For women starting their career in engineering, there is an enormous confidence boost, knowing that you are part of a cohort of trailblazers within the STEMM sector.”

Megan Stevens | HR Advisor: Resourcing and Talent at Hutchison Ports UK

TransGrid’s Graduate, Intern and Pre-apprenticeship Programs

TransGrid works with educational institutions to provide students with opportunities and provide scholarship recipients with internships and work experience. They’re also launching a pre-apprenticeship program in 2022 that will provide opportunities to try out a trade before applying for the program — it will welcome applicants considering a career change too!

Whether you’re joining TransGrid’s two-year graduate program, undertaking an internship, or joining the apprenticeship program, the TransGrid team says this will offer a unique opportunity to learn from leading experts, contribute to change-making projects and develop professional and technical skills that will get your career off to a flying start.

Similar Graduate programs:

  • CSL’s graduate program encourages young women to join the ‘less-traditional’ streams, such as engineering and IT. In fact, their last cohort of graduates was 75% women.
  • In 2021, Hatch was ranked fifth on the Australian Association of Graduate Employers’ (AAGE) list of Top Intern Programs. Hatch ensures a strong focus on diversity, with its intern and graduate intake having a gender diversity of over 50% women over the last two years.
  • Schneider Electric’s intern and graduate programs aim for a 50/50 gender balance each year, ensuring that they consistently promote gender and generational diversity.

More practical advice

Young Women in Stemm Endorsed Employer logos

If women are going to achieve an equal footing in these high-income, high-demand fields, we all need to play our part to help young women achieve their STEMM dreams. WORK180 Endorsed Employers stand to challenge the stereotypes to ensure the future pipeline of STEMM professionals has a gender balance that reflects the society in which we live.

Looking for some advice to help you build a STEMM career of your own? Check out these 17 tips from some of the best and brightest women thriving in STEMM right now.

There are several variations of the STEMM acronym used by different organizations. Check out our Diversity and Inclusion Glossary to understand the differences, along with other ways to make your language more inclusive.

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About the Author
Jacynta Clayton’s career started in recruitment advertising and employer branding, working with global clients to create and deploy strategic and creative content. Now she combines her industry experience with the knowledge from her psychology and professional writing degrees to write unique and resounding stories. As a WORK180 storyteller she relishes the opportunity to elevate the voices and experiences of so many amazing people, while also empowering and educating audiences on how to choose a workplace where they can thrive.

Looking for a new opportunity?

Our transparent job board only has vacancies from employers we endorse and lets you see what benefits, policies and perks come with the job.