28/04/2015 - 15:08

BHP launches maths program for girls

28/04/2015 - 15:08

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BHP Billiton has committed $22 million towards influencing the perception of mathematics among girls and young women, in partnership with the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute.

BHP chief executive Andrew Mackenzie.

BHP Billiton has committed $22 million towards influencing the perception of mathematics among girls and young women, in partnership with the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute.

BHP chief executive Andrew Mackenzie joined AMSI director Geoff Prince, Parliamentary Secretary to the Education Minister Scott Ryan, maths and science teachers, and academics in officially launching the Choose Maths program at the University of Melbourne.

The funding provided through the BHP Billiton Foundation will seek to address a decline in Australians studying maths and entering STEM-related careers.

“Any increase in STEM participation is good news but an increase in female representation is especially valuable because of the undeniable benefits of diversity,” Mr Mackenzie said.

BHP employs 123,000 people worldwide, many of them STEM professionals, so we share the responsibility to make sure there is a pipeline of young people who choose to study STEM subjects.”

Mr Prince said the Choose Maths program would draw on research-based strategies to create a pipeline of female talent and help address the gender wage gap.

“The low participation of girls and women in the study of mathematical sciences and in the quantitative professions is a significant national social and economic challenge,” he said.

“This landmark five-year project aims to build self-sustaining education communities where girls and young women share equally in the rewarding careers and rich life experiences that mathematics offers.”

Components of the Choose Maths program includes professional development for teachers in 120 schools and additional resources for schools nation-wide, a national women in mathematics careers awareness campaign, scholarships and networking support for women in maths and an awards program to recognise excellence in teaching and learning.

BHP shares closed 0.4 per cent lower to $32.42 per share.

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