The UK Launches ‘Women in STEM’ Scholarships

On February 29, the UK Government, in collaboration with the ASEAN secretariat, launched the ASEAN-UK SAGE Women in STEM Scholarships. This initiative addresses gender disparities in STEM education and employment within ASEAN countries and Timor-Leste.
Chương trình hỗ trợ tiến bộ giáo dục trẻ em gái ASEAN – Vương quốc Anh (ASEAN-UK SAGE) tìm cách giải quyết sự chênh lệch giới tính trong khối ngành STEM. (Nguồn: Đại sứ quán Anh tại Việt Nam)
ASEAN-UK Supporting the Advancement of Girls’ Education Programme (ASEAN-UK SAGE) seeks to address gender disparities in STEM by providing women and girls more access to STEM education in ASEAN and Timor-Leste. (Source: British Embassy in Vietnam)

While girls outperform boys in mathematics and science in primary and secondary education across ASEAN countries, a gender gap appears in tertiary STEM education, with only 19.3 per cent of women obtaining STEM degrees compared to 39.8 per cent of men. The 2022 UN progress report on SDG 5 – Gender Equality reveals that only 20 per cent of jobs in STEM are held by women globally, and various studies highlight disparities in publication, pay, and career progression for women in STEM.

Recognising the importance of these issues, the UK, through the ASEAN-UK Supporting the Advancement of Girls’ Education Programme (ASEAN-UK SAGE), seeks to address gender disparities in STEM by providing more access to STEM education for women and girls in ASEAN and Timor-Leste. Emerging from the UK’s official Dialogue Partner status with ASEAN in 2021, ASEAN-UK SAGE is a pioneer initiative under the ASEAN-UK Plan of Action 2022-2026.

Launched in 2023, ASEAN-UK SAGE is funded by the UK's Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) with a commitment of up to GBP 30 million to 2028. The programme is implemented by the British Council, SEAMEO Secretariat, Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), and EdTech Hub in its first phase, with a focus on three critical areas: (I) strengthening foundational learning, (ii) engaging out-of-school children and marginalised groups, and (iii) breaking gender barriers to digital skills and employment.

The newly launched, ASEAN-UK SAGE Women in STEM scholarships will contribute to addressing underrepresentation of women in STEM by supporting access to UK education for women. The scholarships will support inspirational advocates in the STEM sector and promote role models for Women in STEM with viable, recognisable STEM careers.

ASEAN-UK SAGE Women in STEM Scholarships are open to women from across all ten ASEAN Member States and Timor-Leste, offering women a chance to transform their future and become pioneers in STEM fields across the region. 11 successful applicants from ASEAN and Timor-Leste will receive a fully funded one-year opportunity to complete a master’s degree at the prestigious University of Warwick or Imperial College London. The opportunity is open to women from ten ASEAN Member States, including Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam as well as Timor-Leste.

British Ambassador to Viet Nam, Iain Frew, said:

"As we launch the ASEAN-UK SAGE Women in STEM Scholarships, we underline both the huge potential of women and girls in education and the enduring commitment of the UK and ASEAN to gender equality and female empowerment in STEM. These scholarships are an important moment in our collective efforts to address the gender disparities that persist in STEM education and employment. Through this initiative, we aim to support access to education and cultivate a new generation of trailblazers who will inspire others and drive positive change across ASEAN and beyond".

Donna McGowan, Director Viet Nam, British Council, said:

"The British Council is proud to be a lead implementation partner of the ASEAN-UK SAGE programme. The Women in STEM scholarships address the under-representation of women in STEM leadership, and among the reasons for this underrepresentation are societal attitudes and perceptions about the role of women and girls in STEM. Building on the previous years’ Women in STEM scholarships, the ASEAN-UK SAGE Women in STEM Scholarships aim to challenge these norms, empower women, create role models, and reinforce a positive attitude towards STEM education among women and girls".

Applications for the ASEAN-UK SAGE Women in STEM Scholarships and the British Council Scholarships for Women in STEM are open until mid-April 2024, with both scholarships covering tuition fees, stipends, travel costs, visas, and health coverage fees.

For more information on the ASEAN – UK SAGE Women in STEM Scholarships, please visit:

For more information on the British Council Scholarships for Women in STEM, please visit:

On 7 March 2024, the British Council in Vietnam will host an online webinar introducing the Women in STEM 2024 scholarship. The event will feature UK university representatives, past Women in STEM scholars, and distinguished STEM figures from Vietnam. We invite potential candidates, and anyone interested in the scholarship to register for the event. Feel free to submit your questions for our speakers via our online form at or if you would like more information about the scholarship.

For further information on the ASEAN-UK SAGE Women in STEM Scholarships, please contact:

[email protected]

[email protected]

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(Source: British Embassy in Vietnam)