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Media Release: A brighter, bolder future for Australian girls

A BRIGHTER, BOLDER FUTURE FOR AUSTRALIAN GIRLS

A cooperative alliance to build girls’ participation in entrepreneurship and STEM kicks off today as leaders from a range of sectors gather in Sydney as part of the Australian Government’s

Future Female Entrepreneurs Program.

Representatives from major international tech companies, Australian corporates, start-ups, incubators and the entrepreneurial community will discuss today how to work together to support more young women with great business ideas to become the tomorrow’s entrepreneurs.

The Future Female Entrepreneurs Program aims to build an industry alliance to assist girls and young women across Australia to develop entrepreneurship and STEM-based skills essential to the future of work. It is funded by an Australian Government grant, with matched funding to be secured from industry partners.

The meeting is one of a series of foundation workshops to inform the roll out of the Program, including co-design workshops with almost 200 girls aged 10 to 18 in Darwin, Newcastle, Gold Coast, Sydney and Melbourne, as well as consultations with education experts.

Entrepreneurship and innovation are considered essential future workforce skills, yet 23 per cent of Australian girls did not know what an entrepreneur was, and 40 per cent could not name a female entrepreneur or business person.

Of those who could name a female entrepreneur, family and friends marginally outranked Hollywood reality TV stars.

The girls reported the biggest barriers to pursuing entrepreneurship were a lack of access to education and mentors (27 per cent), lack of confidence (24 per cent), and lack of female business role models (12 per cent).

“We want Australian girls to have the confidence that they can be the boss of their own company or leaders in the industries in which they work,” program spokesperson Annie O’Rourke said.

“Role models make a huge impact on young people. In our recent workshops with girls we found 40 per cent couldn’t name a female entrepreneur. You can’t be what you can’t see, so that’s why we’ll be connecting girls with real life role models to show them what is possible.

“There are so many great examples of women making an impact in business and innovation, and we want to help girls look beyond the Jenners and Kardashians and learn from some of our home-grown success stories.”

While STEM jobs in Australia are growing at a rapid 1.5 times the rate of other jobs in recent years, boys still outnumber girls 3 to 1 in physics and almost 2 to 1 in advanced math classes.

In the workplace the divide is even greater, with women making up only 17 per cent of the STEM-qualified workforce in Australia.

“The Government’s $3.6 million Future Female Entrepreneurs Program creates a digital platform to boost digital skills, provide in-person training to boost digital literacy, and provide mentorship to our businesswomen of the future,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said.

“The Government wants to encourage more women to engage in entrepreneurship in the technology sector, which will help grow our economy.”

COSBOA is proud to lead the Future Female Entrepreneurs Program on behalf of the small business sector as a critical measure to boost women’s leadership and participation in small business.

“Today’s 12-year-old girls will be the entrepreneurs and innovation workers of 2025. We must take action now to show Australian girls that anything is possible with the right skills, attitude and support,” COSBOA CEO Peter Strong said.

Girls will participate in an innovative entrepreneurship program designed to cultivate their skills in design thinking, coding and business skills via self-paced online learning, or as part of a national in-person workshop program. This will provide late primary school and high school girls with a pathway to further education and future employers.

The Program will launch in coming months. To find out more visit:

https://www.futurefemaleentrepreneursprogram.com.au

Media contact:

Fleur Anderson, FFEP Project Manager.

Fleur@89degreeseast.com

0409342890

CONSULTATION AND SUPPORT The Future Female Entrepreneurs Program thanks the following organisations for their support and feedback during this consultation phase. Youth Entrepreneur Education Providers Young Change Agents Foundation for Young Australians Future Anything Tech Girls Movement Industry AlphaBeta Atlassian Amazon Web Services BlueChilli Canva Chief Executive Women Cisco Networking Academy Coca-Cola Amatil Digital Purpose Digital Workforce Google Australia Growthops KPMG Microsoft Muru-d Sydney Paddl SheEO SheStarts Tech Ready Women Telstra Foundation Westpac Scholars Education Institutions 8x8 to Educate Anzac Park Public School Arundel State School Charles Darwin University Catholic Education Melbourne Carey Baptist Grammar School City of Parramatta Code Academy Colyton High School Coomera Rivers State School Darwin Innovation Hub Department of Education, NSW Department of Education, QLD Department of Education, South Australia Department of Education, VIC Education Queensland Elizabeth McCarthur High School ERA Properties Griffith University Heathfield High School Hunter River High School iAccelerate Kilvington Grammar School Loreto Normanhurst Manju Dhir NESA Oxford Falls Grammar School Pacific Pines State High School Riverside Girls High School RMIT Online School Learning Environments & Change - NSW DoE St. Columba’s College The Knox School The University of NSW Think Learn Act Thomas Hassall Anglican University of Sydney University of Wollongong UTS VCAA Wellington Point SHS Yarra Valley Grammar

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