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in brief: female scientists encouraged to climb career ladder

Tanya Monro. Image via The Australian

Tanya Monro. Image via The Australian

Female scientists are being urged to climb the career ladder as early as possible. Australian Laureate Fellow, physicist Tanya Monro, is encouraging young women to take risks in their career, rather than settling for job security.

Professor Monro has recently won a share of $47 million in Australian Research Council Laureate Fellowship funding. With the prize comes mentoring and she has taken the opportunity to encourage career-early women to back themselves and take up research.

The mid to late-twenties are a crucial time for researchers establishing themselves in their fields. However, as women swap research for job security, men are pushing forward.

‘We need to boost up women’s confidence and say to them if you are good, you will be able to create opportunities and make a really big difference,’ Professor Monro told the HES.

Four of the 17 recent Laureate Fellows were women. Professor Monro is the only female physicist professor in Adelaide University’s 139 year history.

The call for women to strive forward in science echoes similar sentiment expressed in other ‘male-dominated’ fields of late. A study by the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency has found that women only make up 20% of the information and communications technology industry, which is hampering the supply of skills.

‘We need role models and we also need to support employers, particularly in the SME sector, to examine the barriers to entry. Kids make career decisions in high school and we think this is a critical area,’ Adam Redman, head, policy and external affairs, told CIO.

On Tuesday, James Cook University researcher Michelle Deshong called for increased representation of Indigenous women in parliament.

‘Research obviously shows that women’s issues are put on the agenda much more prominently when there are actually women prominent in these roles,’ she said.

‘But particularly I think as a nation we need to be encouraging formal representation of Indigenous people across a whole range of spectrums.’

Elizabeth Broderick, Australia’s Sex Discrimination Commissioner, wrote on the advantages of increasing the percentage of women in the Australian workplace in May.

According to a Goldman Sachs report, narrowing the gap between male and female employment rates would increase Australia’s gross domestic product by 11 per cent and overall economic activity by up to 20 per cent.’



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