It’s time to find out what works for women in STEM

Media releases, Office of the Women in STEM Ambassador

A Guide to Evaluating STEM Gender Equity Programs launched

A new resource will make it easier to identify programs with the greatest impact for women pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). 

The need is urgent. The working lives of women in STEM have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

While there are hundreds of programs to attract and retain girls and women in STEM, a recent Australian National University study found that only seven of 337 initiatives in Australia provided publicly available evidence of impact or an evaluation of their effectiveness.

The Evaluating STEM Gender Equity Programs guide (the Guide)—published today by the Office of the Women in STEM Ambassador—provides practical tools for anyone running a gender equity program to evaluate their project and focus on what really works.

“We are proud to launch this guide to evaluate STEM equity programs today, which will drive a culture of evaluation and ensure that investments in this area lead to tangible benefits for women and girls,” says Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith, Australia’s Women in STEM Ambassador.

The Guide is an easy-to-use resource with advice, planning tools, and other guidance, organised into five simple steps: Define, Plan, Design, Execute and Share.

It builds on an earlier pilot version, incorporating feedback from broad consultation across the sector.

“There was a huge, enthusiastic response to the pilot guide when we launched it in May, showing an understanding of the need for evaluation and a real hunger for tools to make it easier. We heard from 41 people who road-tested the guide and provided suggestions to refine and improve it,” says guide author Isabelle Kingsley, Research Associate at the Office of the Women in STEM Ambassador.

“The pandemic threatens to undo a lot of the good work that has been done, so we urgently need to know what works and make sure we’re doing it. We want everyone running a STEM gender equity initiative to put the new Guide to good use.”

The Guide is a key action of the Australian Government’s Advancing Women in STEM 2020 Action Plan. It is also a priority of the Women in STEM Decadal Plan.

The Australian Government has taken steps to make evaluation a condition of grant funding, including under the Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship (WISE) grants program. The Government recommends the use of this guide to evaluate the success of current and future WISE projects in meeting their intended outcomes.

Evaluating STEM Gender Equity Programs: A guide to effective program evaluation is a free resource available for download from the Women in STEM Ambassador website: A quick reference version of the guide is also available.

Media contacts

Lisa Harvey-Smith and Isabelle Kingsley are available for interview.

The full guide and quick reference guide are available at

Videos and images for media are available at