St Cath's girls building a robot
28 November 2019

St Catherine's School is empowering young women through its robotics program

​St Catherine's School recognises the importance of teaching girls the disciples of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Although female students outnumber male students across Australian universities (55.5 per cent to 44.5 per cent), there is an enormous disparity between female to male students studying STEM-related fields such as IT and engineering (18.9 per cent and 15.8 per cent respectively).

In addition, studies show that women earn 78 cents for every dollar that men earn, and that women account for just five per cent of Australia's top paying corporate positions.

Economic forecasts in Australia predict a transition to a more technological-based economy, highlighting the need for more STEM graduates to enter the workforce. However, fewer women are engaging in studies required to access these jobs.

St Catherine's is challenging this gender imbalance through its robotics program. Its focus is to change the mindset of students and help them to think critically and creatively through a STEM lens. It empowers young women to take action and to see themselves as active participants in solving global issues, as well as improving economic growth in Australia.

"One of the program's most important outcomes is its potential to build confidence. The girls learn valuable skills and develop experience in technology, encouraging them to pursue tertiary studies in STEM which they otherwise might not have considered an option," explains Director of the STEM program, Rene Mercer.

"The purpose of the program is to give our students the confidence to try new things, both at school and in their future careers."

Each year, St Catherine's senior robotics team participates in the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition, one of the major robotics competitions for high school students in the world. The teams must design, program and build an industrial-sized robot under strict rules, within a short timeframe.

The competition's mission statement aligns closely with St Catherine's own values:

"To inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership."

Based in Sydney's eastern suburbs, St Catherine's is Australia's oldest independent Anglican girls' school. Their purpose is to develop young women of character and intellect who are equipped to make their unique contribution to the world.

For further media information, please contact:

Lauren Coetzee
Marketing & Communications Manager
02 8305 6387