“You can’t be what you can’t see” – women leading the charge for STEM careers
Strong role models, mentors and consistent exposure to science from an early age are just some of the ways we can encourage young girls into STEM jobs, according to women who are trailblazers in their own respective careers.
To recognise the United Nation’s International Day of Women and Girls and Science, the Brighter program hosted a roundtable discussion with women who are at different points in their STEM careers – some studying, some leaders and emerging leaders, some already retired.
Moderated by Director – Communications for the Brighter program, Sarah Browne, the discussion was centred on the initiatives already in place to promote STEM among women and young girls, and what else can be done to further encourage them to pick a STEM career.
Verity Blackman, board member for the UN Women National Committee Australia spoke to the group about the importance of role models and working with children, right around the world, to provide them with opportunities to try new things.
“You can’t be what you can’t see – this is why role models are critical for young people.”
Sue Barrell, vice president of Science Technology Australia, and former Chief Scientist for the Bureau of Meteorology said:
“We need to get everyone – boys and girls – on a level playing field when it comes to STEM and build their confidence.”
Sarah Browne said: “It was a fantastic opportunity to get these women, from different backgrounds and experiences, to share their story.”
“What was apparent is that everyone around the table agreed on the same thing – young children, and young girls in particular, need a consistent and strong support network to introduce them to the big, interesting world of science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” she said.
“This should start from an early age so young girls go on to finish high school, they are confident to pick an engineering degree at university or go on to study their STEM-based PhD without fear of being overlooked or dismissed because of gender.”
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