Leaders in science and technology have shared their advice to their younger selves to mark International Day of Women and Girls in Science. Among them are Presidents and CEOs of major STEM organisations and some of our very own Superstars of STEM.
The advice being shared shines a light on some of the struggles faced by women in science and technology, and how conditions are changing for the next generation.
CEO of Science & Technology Australia and Chair of Australian National Commission for UNESCO, Kylie Walker, said the day was an important reminder of how important it is to support and encourage young women and girls to consider a future in science, technology, engineering or mathematics.
“There is a significant difference between the number of women and the number of men entering and staying in fields like engineering, mathematics, computer science and physics,” Ms Walker said.
“A diversity of experiences and perspectives is crucial to creating a thriving solutions sector which will in turn contribute to a thriving, healthy, sustainable society.
“It’s so important that we provide advice, role-models, sponsorship and encouragement to girls to help them see themselves pursing studies and a career in science or maths.”
She said Science & Technology Australia was proud to support the 60 new Superstars of STEM, and the program’s 30 alumna, to be public role models throughout Australia.
“We look forward to working with the Superstars as their profiles grow from strength to strength, and speak about their exciting lives and careers – on days like today, and every day.”
“My advice to young Australians today is that you don’t need straight A’s to make a difference in science and technology: the most important ingredients are curiosity and passion.”
Some of the advice the Superstars of STEM have shared is included below:
- It’s okay to change your pathway if things aren’t working out like you hoped – perseverance can go in more than one direction. – Dr Steph McLennan
- Even though it seems impossible right now, believe in yourself, one day you will get what you are dreaming for! – Dr Muneera Bano
- Don’t spend too much time worrying about what you want to be ‘when you grow up’ – instead, explore lots of different activities/subjects, find what out you love to do and then find a career that allows you to get paid for doing it – Narelle Underwood
- There are more options for a career in Biology than a medical doctor or university professor! – Dr Sharon Hook
- If you are curious and want to explore the world, then you have the makings of a scientist. – Dr Jennie Mallela
- Step outside of your comfort zone early and often, because that’s one of the best ways to GROW! – Dr Laura Kuhar
- Choose the path that’s challenging but interesting, or you will get bored. There are so many exciting opportunities out there so find the courage to try the hard stuff because you’ll be amazed where it can take you – Associate Professor Heidi Smith-Vaughan
- Your grades do not determine your destiny. So relax, enjoy and engage – life is too short to stress! – Dr Susanna Cramb
- You don’t have to be a genius to aim at a career in science. Passion for the weird and wonderful world around us and curiosity to explore it is much more important. – Dr Sonja Dominik
- Do something that can make our world a more pleasant place to live in – Dr Yanni Chin
- A career in science can involve so many amazing things. From the chemistry behind remediating contaminated land, to working on tunnels that will deliver trains across our biggest cities – my career is an exciting and an amazing adventure! – Dr Kate Cole
- Appreciate that it’s possible to have a successful science career even if you don’t follow a traditional linear path and instead add detours and a more winding route. – Dr Eva Plaganyi-Lloyd
- It’s just as important to know what things you don’t like to do as the things that you do like to do. – Dr Erin Rayment
Be sure to meet more of our Superstars of STEM and find out how you can get involved in the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. You can also follow stories via social media by watching the #SuperstarsofSTEM on Twitter or by following @WomenScienceDay.