Today marks the 9th United Nations International Day for Women and Girls in Science (IDWGIS). Tackling some of the world's greatest challenges - from improving health to combating climate change - relies on harnessing all talent. That means getting more women working in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM).  IDWGIS is an opportunity to reflect on the critical role of women and girls in STEMM and the need to strengthen their participation. It is a celebration of equality in science, technology, and innovation for socio-economic sustainable development, in line with the United Nations 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals.

This year’s theme is: “Women and Girls in Science Leadership, a New Era for Sustainability”, with the subtheme “Think Science ... Think Peace”.

For the occasion, the Royal Society of Victoria and the Parliament of Victoria are co-presenting an IDWGIS event for Inspiring Victoria at the Parliament of Victoria at 12:15pm – 2pm (Eastern Australia Time - Melbourne) on Friday 23 February 2024.

The event - to be broadcast via Parliament's Facebook channel - will convene four remarkable women leaders in STEMM to discuss Leadership in a Time of Change. The discussion will address the cultural and structural barriers to the advancement of women in Australia’s STEMM workforce, and the increasingly dynamic nature of leadership in a world that is changing rapidly in many ways. Invited students and teachers from Footscray High School, Brunswick Secondary College, Princes Hill Secondary College, and the Mac.Robertson Girls' High School will join this important discussion.

Having just returned from Antarctica as part of the acclaimed Homeward Bound program, the four speakers bring fresh insights to the pivotal role leadership plays in navigating the unknown and the uncertain, both in the scientific realm and beyond. The discussion will be hosted by ABC Science journalist and presenter Natasha Mitchell with the support of Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, The Hon. Maree Edwards MP.

Since its inception, Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability, Dr Gillian Sparkes AM has continued to support IDWGIS through the promotion of participation, achievements, and contributions of women and girls in the field of STEMM in Victoria.

Last year, the Commissioner was part of STEMM discussion about the participation of women and girls in Australia’s STEMM workforce and education. View last year’s discussion broadcast from Victoria’s Parliament House.

Commissioner Dr Sparkes said “It’s wonderful that this important celebration continues to promote and discuss the role of women and girls in STEMM and science leadership, more broadly. Their role in environmental integrity, economic prosperity and social justice is so important.

I encourage you to listen to this esteemed panel and guests, discuss the increasingly dynamic nature of leadership in a world that is changing rapidly.”