Here in Australia we’re proud of our egalitarian society; we believe strongly in equality of opportunity for all. We’ve also got a long history of being progressive on women’s rights – Australia was the first country in the modern world to give women the right to vote and stand for election to a national Parliament.
The Australian Government is committed to gender equality and is working towards increasing the number of women in visible leadership and decision making positions, because we know when this happens our whole society benefits.
We recognise women’s economic participation including as entrepreneurs and professionals, leaders and business owners is vital to Australia’s economic growth and our ability to compete internationally. Australia is committed to increasing women’s economic security and leadership, and all levels of government offer a range of initiatives and grants available exclusively for women.
Australia ranks 3rd in our region for gender equality
Australia ranks equal 1st in the world for gender parity among professional and technical workers
Source: World Economic Forum. Global Gender Gap Report 2022
Programs and grants for women entrepreneurs, business owners and leaders
Commonwealth Government program
- You can search for government grants and programs across Australia in the Grants and programs finder
- The Office for Women administers the Women’s Leadership and Development Program to fund and deliver a range of projects for Australian women
- The Boosting Female Founders Initiative offers grants between $25,000 and $480,000 for start-ups founded by women to expand into domestic and global markets
- The Future Female Entrepreneurs Program (FFEP) is an innovative entrepreneurship program. It is free to all young women in Australia between the ages of 10 and 24. It is funded under the Women’s Leadership and Development Program
- You can search for other government grants and programs across Australia in the Grants and programs finder
State and Territory-based programs and grants
Australian Capital Territory
- Innovate Canberra provides general business information (not gender specific)
New South Wales
- Women in Business is a fully subsidised online program to help women establish a small business or consolidate an existing small business. To be eligible, you must be living or working in New South Wales
- The Women’s Innovation Network NT aims to increase diversity and gender equity in innovation and STEAMM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics and medicine) through retaining, attracting and elevating women
- Queensland’s Female Founders program offers several programs aimed at women
- The Tasmanian Government Women’s Website details what’s on offer for women in Tasmania
- Victoria offers a number of women’s leadership programs
- The Global Victoria Women (GVw) initiative seeks to increase the number of Victorian women pursuing export goals
- Support for business (not gender specific) is available from the Small Business Development Corporation
Organisations and opportunities for women leaders and entrepreneurs
Chief Executive Women is a membership organisation that influences and engages with all levels of Australian business and governments to achieve gender balance. Its work involves advocacy, research, targeted programs and scholarships.
Scale Investors is Australia’s first and only network of angel investors committed to investing in and empowering exceptional women entrepreneurs.
The Telstra Business Women’s Awards have been recognising and celebrating Australia’s outstanding business women for 25 years. The Awards are run annually.
The goal of the League of Extraordinary Women is to provide an influential community for female entrepreneurs globally.
Business Chicks is a community of over 35,000 women (and men) helping all women ‘play a bigger game’ in business and the workplace.
Business Women Australia is a national collective of women who are passionate about business success and personal growth.
The Women NSW Business & Entrepreneur Network is an online peer mentoring tool for women interested in business and entrepreneurial opportunities.
Head over heels supports female entrepreneurs grow their companies more quickly and efficiently by introducing them to prominent leaders in business, government and the community.
SheDares: Women in STEM careers
Supporting women in STEM
- Australia’s Women in Stem Ambassador Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith works to address gender inequities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The role of the Ambassador is to increase the participation of women and girls in STEM studies and careers. Professor Harvey-Smith does this by engaging with stakeholders in a range of sectors across the country to build visibility and the drive needed cultural and social change for gender equity in STEM.
- The Government-supported Superstars of STEM Program works to raise the profile of Australian women in STEM by growing a critical mass of celebrity women scientists inspiring our next generations.