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Sydney only Australian city attracting female entrepreneurs: Dell

Sydney came eighth globally for its ability to attract and foster growth of female-founded firms, the Dell Women Entrepreneur Cities Index has revealed.

Sydney has been ranked as one of the top 10 cities out of 25 for its ability to attract and support female entrepreneurs, according to the Dell Women Entrepreneur Cities Index (WE Cities).

The WE Cities looked at a city's ability to attract and foster growth of female-founded firms, ranking Sydney -- the only Australian capital city to make it to the list -- in eighth position. New York came in at number one, followed by the San Francisco Bay area, London, Stockholm, Singapore, Toronto, and Washington DC.

On the lower end of the overall ranking spectrum were Johannesburg, Jakarta, and Istanbul.

Each city was ranked according to five key characteristics including capital, technology, talent, culture, and market. Within those categories, Sydney ranked third in culture and made an appearance in the market category in ninth place.

According to Dell, the data indicated that when impediments to female entrepreneurship were removed, there was a dramatic uplift in a city's economic prospects.

Elizabeth Gore, entrepreneur-in-residence at Dell, said the index is indicative of the impact local policies and programs can have on female entrepreneurs.

"It's time for women to be politically engaged to ensure the right ecosystems are in place for them to scale. If politicians and entrepreneurs partner, dynamic policies can be put in place to close the circle and enhance the process from idea to enterprise," she said.

The index comes after the CSIRO's Digital Careers education program called for Australia to actively encourage more young women to partake in computer-based studies.

The Female participation in school computing: reversing the trend report indicated there is an alarming lack of young females studying computer science at primary and secondary school.

The report also found that while science, technology, mathematics, and science (STEM) studies have had a strong presence in mandatory schooling curriculum from kindergarten since the 1960s, computer science has not had the same exposure.

In fact, the report highlighted that the percentage of women participating in STEM areas has increased steadily; however, the number of women participating in computer science has continued to steadily decrease since the mid 1980s.

The Australian government reported similar numbers earlier this year, which revealed while 55 percent of STEM graduates are female, only in four IT graduates and one in 10 engineering graduates, are women.

The Australian government pledged AU$13 million at the end of last year, as part of its AU$1.1 billion National Innovation and Science Agenda, to encourage women to take up roles in the STEM sector.

The funds will be used to support the expansion of the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) pilot to cover more science and research institutions; establish a new initiative under the "Male Champions of Change" project; and partner with the private sector to celebrate female STEM role models.

The SAGE pilot launched last September, with the government reporting at the time over 30 research bodies were already involved. SAGE will assess and accredit the gender equity practices and policies in Australian science organisations. It will also drive change to see more women involved in such sectors.

"We want to be a national culture of innovation, of risk takers, because as we do that, we grow the whole ecosystem of innovation right across the economy," Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said previously. "As we become more experienced, more innovative, more agile, and more prepared to take on risks we become a culture of ideas because it is the ideas boom which will secure our prosperity in the future."