#womeninscience breaking barriers

Panelists (from left to right): Dr Katarina Miljkovic, Dr Asha Bowen, Dr Airlie Chapman, Dr Kirsty Scott and Dr Stefanie Zollmann.

Photo: Nicole Nevill.

Researchers gathered today to hear from the 2018-2019 L’Oreal-UNESCO Women in Science fellows about their achievements and discoveries at Curtin University’s Perth city campus.

Curtin University researcher and event organiser Katarina Miljkovic said the five panelists were chosen from about 200 applicants from Australia and New Zealand.

Telethon Kids Institute Associate Professor Asha Bowen said women tended to undersell their achievements

“Often our male colleagues are applying for promotions and next level positions because they feel ready for it two or three years before females on average,” Dr Bowen said.

The University of Melbourne’s Airlie Chapman said women hesitated to ask their employers for increased pay.

“Men in academic positions can usually ask for more without it being considered petty but that is only going to change if more women ask for more,” Dr Chapman said.

University of Queensland academic Kirsty Short said she had noticed different attitudes towards female scientists in different countries, such as China and the Netherlands.

“One of the things I really liked in the Netherlands is that they don’t call it ‘maternity leave’ they call it ‘parental leave’…simple things like that where it can be equitably distributed between the male and female is something Australia can learn from,” Dr Short said.

Dr Bowen said it was important to include experiences as a parent when applying for opportunities, so that it can be normalised.

“Don’t be fearful of writing and learning how to write about those parts of life that may be perceived as not being a part of your scientific journey because they add value to who you are,” she said.

The forum followed the success of yesterday’s #girlsinscience event at Curtin University’s Bentley campus, which was attended by more than 300 female high school students.

Curtin University’s researcher Veronica Sofianos on why she came to the forum.

Video: Tanya Ajwani.

Categories: General