How “Girls in STEM” took root in ANZ
May 27, 2019
When I was part of Accenture in the UK’s Health & Public Services group, one of our initiatives to bring more women into the workforce was the annual Girls in STEM event. This campaign aims to inspire, educate and empower girls to take on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects and careers. As part of this campaign, we hold events where girls participate in STEM workshops and an Innovation Lounge, and meet role models working in STEM. These events began in 2015 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and spread out to our other locations across the UK and the world.
During the Girls in STEM event held in Sydney
When some of my Girls in STEM teammates and I moved to Australia in 2018 and became part of Accenture in ANZ, we got together and thought, “Why don’t we bring in Girls in STEM here?” Accenture in Australia already has existing campaigns to bring in more women to the workforce, but we can always do more.
By holding the Girls in STEM events, we wanted to show young women that you don’t need to be a math wizard or coding expert to work in STEM. You also don’t have to wear a lab coat or work behind a computer all day. Motivated by this goal, we created a proposal to bring the best of Girls in STEM in the UK and create something unique for the ANZ audience. We reached out to as many people as we could for support to pilot the event in the ANZ market. We also wanted the opportunity to show the benefits of this initiative for Accenture and the girls. Fortunately, people from Accenture Technology showed great interest and were keen to fund it.
After nine months of hard work trying to get it off the ground, we held the first event in Sydney, which was a huge success. By leveraging the best of our UK methodology and adapting it to our ANZ needs, we came up with a unique approach. We worked with the Australian Business and Community Network (ABCN) so we could reach young girls from low socio-economic areas who wouldn’t otherwise have access to this type of opportunity, which was really important to us. The energy was electric and the girls’ feedback alone made it all worthwhile, and we also received incredible support from women in STEM who came along and our colleagues across Accenture. The whole team felt a huge sense of pride in bringing this incredible event to girls in ANZ.
This year, I’m looking forward to taking the event to Sydney, Melbourne and Wellington. Aside from ABCN, we will also be working with Te Papa Museum, a nonprofit organisation in New Zealand focused on creating innovative learning opportunities, and a network of exciting industry partners.
Reaching out to girls before they choose their high school certificate subjects and uni courses is key if we want to catch them before they lose the STEM spark. I hope that we get to inspire more girls to explore STEM subjects and discover what they can achieve with a STEM career.
Enjoying good food with friends