Universities work together to ensure more women in STEMM


Wednesday 24 Jan 2018

Charles Sturt University (CSU) has joined forces with a number of other leading universities and organisations to ensure the talents of women are better represented in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM) education and careers. Over eight months, CSU and its partners contributed energy, ideas, and action to ensure STEMM-related fields benefit from diverse minds, diverse knowledge and skill-sets, and diverse human networks to respond quickly, intelligently and in impactful ways.

This project resulted in the cross-institutional video ‘STEMM’s got talent, but nearly lost it’, which captures the stories of successful individuals who have pursued careers in science; how at times, they nearly turned away from STEMM, and how a range of obstacles were overcome along the way.

It also explores their institutions’ role in unlocking and harnessing the potential of the human mind, regardless of gender. The participating institutions are the University of Canberra (UC), The Australian National University (ANU), CSIRO, University of South Australia (UniSA), University of Sydney, and Cambridge.

The video features academics and researchers from different institutions including:
-  physicist Professor Tanya Monro (Uni SA),
-  early-career researcher and biochemist Dr Anna El-Tahchy (CSIRO Agriculture and Food),
-  mathematician Professor Nalini Joshi (University of Sydney),
-  Dr John Rolley researcher in nursing and clinical medicine (UC),
-  Professor Emily Banks epidemiologist and public health physician (ANU),
-  Professor Frances Shannon epigenetics and immunology scientist (UC), and
-  Dame Ottoline Leyser, plant developmental biologist and Director of the Sainsbury Laboratory (Cambridge).

The leaders of our institutions are committed to this effort.

University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Deep Saini: “The University of Canberra has long been committed to developing and fostering an environment that promotes gender equality. Through this culture, we have seen first-hand the positive impact a diverse workforce has on our capacity to facilitate transformative learning and research, particularly in STEMM. It’s important that we continue to unlock and harness the potential of the human mind for the benefit of our community and beyond, and gender should not stand in the way of this. Not now, not ever.”

ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt AC: “For ANU, the SAGE initiative is a program that will help the University both think about the problems around gender equity, and then find ways to fix those problems. We are delighted to be working with other research institutions in our region to break down barriers and inspire more women to have rewarding careers in STEMM.”

CSIRO Deputy Chief Executive Craig Roy: “It takes billions of grains of sand to make a beach but it only takes a small number of inspirational stories to change the world – ‘STEMMS’s got talent, but nearly lost it’ shows us that it is possible to change the future of science and humanity. We need all the talent we can harness – let’s do it, grain by grain, story by story, step by step.”

CSU Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Vann: “Equality of opportunity is a core part of our organisational DNA at Charles Sturt University - we think of ourselves as fundamentally an access university.  STEMM has particular issues and we have been very pleased to work with the SAGE program to address gender equity issues in these disciplines - we cannot afford to discard so much talent if we are to solve our issues as a nation and as a planet.”

University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Dr Michael Spence: “We stand firm in our commitment to advancing gender equity, promoting women in leadership and furthering women’s education. Through the SAGE and other University initiatives, we are fostering the careers of outstanding women in STEMM and seeking to remove the obstacles that prevent women from achieving their full potential. By working together with our partners across higher education, we can continue to drive change and open the way for more women to succeed in Australian science and technology.”


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Media contact: Aaron McDonnell, 0427845830

Media Note:

Please contact CSU Media for interviews with Vice-Chancellor, Professor Andrew Vann.