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Office for Women

Women in STEM

Careers in Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) offer the opportunity to engage in some of the most exciting realms of discovery and technological innovation.

Increasing opportunities for women in these fields is essential to our economy and to achieve gender equality.

By attracting and retaining more women in the STEM workforce we will maximise innovation, creativity, and competitiveness.

Attracting and Retaining Women in STEM

Attracting and Retaining Women in STEM

Attracting and retaining more women in STEM workforce will maximise innovation, creativity, and competitiveness.

Scientists, technicians, engineers and mathematicians are working to solve some of the most difficult challenges of our time, and engineers design many of the things we use daily. When women are not involved in STEM experiences, needs, and desires that are unique to women may be overlooked.

This page provides information on how to attract and retain the participation of women in STEM.





Mentoring, Groups and Networking

Mentoring, Groups and Networking

Many organisations provide mentoring support for employees and this can be particularly beneficial for women working in STEM where they are often in a minority and can benefit from additional encouragement and support.

Networking is also a vital personal and professional development tool. A good network will enable you to meet like-minded women from different industries and get not only practical help but also a chance to share problems, find a sounding board and sometimes alleviate the loneliness of working in a male-dominated business.

This page provides links to mentoring and support networks for women as well as tips and information.

Mentoring and coaching


Agriculture, Food and Fisheries

Automotive and Aviation

Building and Construction


Economics, Finance and Maths


Innovation, Technology and ICT


Mining and Resources


Tips, support services and general information



Scholarships can help with course fees, text books, accommodation costs and living expenses. This page provides information and links to scholarships specifically for women to undertake STEM related study at South Australian Universities. The scholarships listed are available to women only. However, all South Australian Universities also offer other STEM related scholarships to men and women (see below for links to each university's scholarships page). For eligibility criteria click on the name of each scholarship.


  • Hypatia Scholarship for Mathematically Talented Women Offered to full-time women students who enrol in either the Bachelor of Mathematical Sciences or the Bachelor of Quantitative Finance at UniSA. The scholarships are awarded on academic merit and include financial contribution towards student tuition fees for the first year of study, the provision of shared personal office space and a personal computer within the School.
  • Jessie Cooper Study Grants for Mature Entry Women Awarded to mature age women studying at Flinders University on the basis of demonstrated financial need and academic merit.
  • Lesley Shorne Memorial Scholarship Designed to provide assistance to a mature age woman enrolled in the third year of a Doctor of Medicine or Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery at Flinders University.
  • May Mills Scholarship for Women The May Mills Scholarship for Women is to encourage women, who have experienced significant interruptions to their studies due to family responsibilities, to proceed to a research higher degree at Flinders University.
  • SA Water Women in IT Scholarship Scholarship to provide financial assistance to women undertaking an undergraduate or honours degree in information technology at Flinders University relevant to SA Water's operations.
  • Sylvia Birdseye Undergraduate Scholarship for Women Available to women students who are studying full-time and undertaking the third year of a Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) or (Civil and specialisation) program at UniSA. Particular interest will be paid to candidates enrolled in the (Civil and Transport) specialisation.
  • Women Techmakers Scholars Program recipients will each receive a financial award for the academic year. In addition, all scholarship recipients and finalists will be invited to attend a retreat at Google. The retreat will include workshops, speakers, panelists, breakout sessions and social activities scheduled over a couple of days.

Honours and Post-Graduate

  • Catherine Helen Spence Memorial Scholarship Provides financial support for a woman to undertake the investigation of social problems and/or a study in the field of social sciences in Australia or overseas. The investigation or study should be relevant to social conditions in South Australia and be capable of being applied for the benefit of the state. Awarded every four years.
  • SA Water Women in IT Scholarship Scholarship to provide financial assistance to women undertaking an undergraduate or honours degree in information technology at Flinders University relevant to SA Water's operations.
  • Zonta International Amelia Earhart Fellowship Awards for Women Awarded annually to women pursuing PhD/doctoral degrees in aerospace-related sciences or aerospace-related engineering at Flinders University.


Scholarships open to women and men at all levels



Women are still chronically under-represented in STEM. Statistics help show what is the current state of play, what are the key issues and illustrate why it matters.

Women Trailblazers and Role Models

Women Trailblazers and Role Models

Women have contributed richly to the achievements of science, technology, engineering and maths. Many of these accomplishments have been forgotten, ignored and even hidden. Without their pioneering work, our quality of life would be much different.

Positive female role models are important if we are to challenge the myths about who becomes a scientist, technologist, engineer or mathematician. Role models can also inspire women already in STEM to continue and progress, and they can help all STEM managers and staff to break down barriers.


  • Amelia Earhart (aviator) first person to fly solo anywhere in the Pacific, first person to attempt to circumnavigate the globe by plane
  • Emmy Noether (mathematician) recognised as the most creative abstract algebraist of modern times. Described by Albert Einstein as the most important woman in the history of mathematics. She also well-known for her groundbreaking contributions to theoretical physics
  • Florence Nightingale (nurse and statistician) founder of modern nursing, invented a form of the pie chart
  • Ginni Rometty (electrical engineer) first woman CEO and Chair of IBM
  • Hedy Lamarr (actress and inventor) invented communication technology that is used in WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth and almost every single modern communication device
  • Hypatia (mathematician, astronomer and philosopher) first recorded woman scientist in history
  • Jane Goodall (primatologist, ethologist, anthropologist) world's foremost expert on chimpanzees
  • Maria Mitchell (astronomer) discovered the 'Miss Mitchell's Comet' in 1847 and was the first person (male or female) to be appointed as professor of astronomy at Vasser University
  • Marie Curie (physicist and chemist) first woman to win the Nobel Prize (in Physics) and first person to win one in two categories (she also won in Chemistry). Discovered polonium and radium.
  • Mary Leakey (archaeologist and scientific illustrator) discovered the first ancient skeleton of a primitive ape 'Australopithecus'. She also located the fossilized footprints of our human ancestors that confirmed that they had started walking upright 3.6 million years ago
  • Rosalind Franklin (biophysicist and X-ray crystallographer) best known for her work on the X-ray diffraction images of DNA which led to the discovery of the DNA double helix
  • Valentina Tereshkova (astronaut) first woman in space.

This is what a scientist looks like (and a technician, and an engineer, and a mathematician, and…)

Page last updated : 03 Nov 2023

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Provided by:
Department of Human Services
Last Updated:
06 Nov 2023
Printed on:
22 Feb 2024
The Office for Women website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Australia Licence. © 2016