International day of Women and Girls 2020

For the 2020 International Day of Women and Girls in Science, Dr Gillian Sparkes, Victorian Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability, was honoured to speak with Dr Amanda Caples and other #SuperstarsOfSTEM about their careers in science to high school students from various schools across greater Melbourne at RMIT University today. Dr Sparkes shared highlights and low lights of her #STEM and business career; leaving the girls with three tips in in response to the question “where are you and how did you get there?”:

  1. Education: invest in a good education to develop a foundation of strong STEM skillsets.
  2. Experiences: be open and explore different roles at different organisations to continue building your skills and expertise in STEM, business and life.
  3. Attitude: a successful STEM career requires drive, motivation, hard work and resilience. Never give up.   

Other leading scientists and #SuperstarsOfSTEM shared their career experiences and insightful lessons learnt with the students, emphasising that it is ok to normalise failure and make mistakes, it is important to trust your abilities and skills and don’t be afraid to go outside your comfort zone. Dr Amanada Caples concluded the session by highlighting that a STEM career gives you a passport to anywhere in the world, creating a diverse and skilled workforce and society.

At present, less than 30% of STEM researchers worldwide are women and enrolment in STEM university subjects by young women is also low. The annual International Day of Women and Girls in Science recognises the critical role women and girls play in science and technology communities, improving societal outcomes from science such as ensuring diversity in the focus of medical research, and the need to inspire up and coming female science leaders. Since 2015, the 11 February is proclaimed as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science and addresses the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 5 and 9 for achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls.

Please read this Womens Agenda article which provides further coverage of key messages from this event and The Victorian Connection article on Women in Science closing the gender pay gap.

Quick fact

Did you know that Victoria is one of only two jurisdictions in Australia (the other being the ACT) with an independent Commissioner charged with periodic State of the Environment reporting? Read about Victoria’s Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability.


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