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Blond Girls


Innovation Day

“The Female Leadership day allows young women to empower themselves and prepare for the workforce. It has given me access to female leaders who do what I want to be doing and provided connections to those working in STEM industries. Their stories are so helpful and inspiring. It is more than discovering your future, it also provides you with a chance to reflect on yourself. Events like this are so important for us to feel empowered in the STEM areas. We are not aware of all the opportunities available to us. Here, we can create a strong platform for our ideas. This is crucial in promoting equality and meeting these female innovators opens our eyes to what lies beyond school."

Statements from young women who represented their high schools in 2019


Think STEM education is important for achieving impact goals and solving real world problems?

Understand how their interests intersect with the technology and innovation sectors?

Have heard of the Sydney Startup Hub or know what a 'startup' is?

Know a female innovator whom they admire?

"While women constitute almost 50% of the labor market, there are only 28% of women in STEM fields as opposed to 72% of men."
(National Girls Collaborative Project: 2018)

Why young women need mentors
Women are underrepresented in the  Science, Technology, Engineering and  Mathematics  (STEM) fields. Even in companies where the representation of women is higher, women are less likely to hold executive positions and are, on average, paid less than men. In male dominated workplaces women are more likely to experience prejudice because of their gender. Young women, in particular, are less likely to be able to identify female role-models in the STEM space and can be heavily impacted by socialisation and unequal exposure to these fields when making decisions about their future career paths. STEM subjects are often siloed off from other areas of learning, making it hard for some young women to understand how their interests and passions intersect with these fields.



The future of work for women is changing  but we are tired of telling young women about it... we want to show them! Gathering at the Sydney Startup Hub, female senior high school students from across Sydney connect with Australia's best innovators for experiential learning that could change a future career, inspire a bold idea, or challenge an assumption! This full day event will challenge the perceptions of successful female innovators, as well as those who are only just beginning to help create a network of women who are committed to building inclusive teams, workplaces and technologies. To be STEM leaders, young women need to have the opportunity to know, admire, connect with and learn from female innovators.

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Before the Event

Students are provided with an educational resource package prior to their attendance– scalable resources which can also be shared with their broader school community. Schools will be encouraged to facilitate an internal mentorship program in which the student is matched with a female STEM teacher. This educational mentor will support the student’s preparations for the event, as well as attending with them on the day. The resource pack includes readings and activities on prototyping and ideation, small business basics and entrepreneurship, pitch materials, startup culture and female led innovation history, a vocabulary list of industry specific terms, phrases, and acronyms, and a network map of the female leaders attending, their biographies and professional experience.

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Session One

Students arrive at the Sydney Startup hub for an official address and welcome from the NSW government's Jobs for NSW. Students participate in an interactive educational workshop addressing key areas of learning– startups, small business, innovation entrepreneurship and STEM leadership.



Session Two

Students tour the Sydney Startup Hub with community leaders from Australia's best startup incubators and accelerators to see how the country's most exciting new companies collaborate in dynamic working environments. Students then participate in a coaching session with an ex Silicon Valley executive to work on removing the mental blocks that stifle creativity and innovation. Self-reflection exercises help grow confidence and communication skills.

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Session Three

Interactive presentations are led by the event's corporate sponsors. Executive women from top tier coporates discuss leadership and career pathways for women and how STEM is used in their products and processes. This is followed by a speed mentoring lunch in which students rotate between networking sessions with a broad range of female innovation leaders. Scientists, policy makers, designers, coders, IP lawyers, storytellers and content creators, CEOs, academics, founders, investors... you name it!

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We are always collaborating with our partners in the innovation sectors– speaking, sharing and showing our work and tech at a wide range of events across the country. Orbispace alumni will continue to receive educational content generated by parallel initiatives, as well as being invited to attend STEM and innovation related opportunities hosted by our partners, including being given access to additional free or discounted programs.

"We were honoured to be able to participate in this  event where we exchanged stories with young women full of potential and bright futures. Our EY representatives shared our vision for females entering the workforce and pursing future leadership roles. In turn, we directly learnt from the participants about what concerns, issues and dreams they had. Through our interactions, we also realised there is still a strong need to continue to expose these young women to the diverse range of leadership opportunities available to them in the tech and innovation space. As part of our commitment to build a better working world, we took our learnings back and are actively addressing them through our EY STEM Initiative."

Zainab Farouk, Innovator - Ernst and Young (EY)