Science needs more women and four Macquarie scientists can tell you why ahead of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science this Sunday.
- Professor Barbara Messerle is a research chemist and leads a team of 360 academic staff and 6,400 students as the Executive Dean of Macquarie University’s Faculty of Science and Engineering.
- Dr Shari Gallop was surprised by the level of gender inequality she encountered at the start of her academic career, so she co-founded the network to do something about it.
- Associate Professor Kira Westaway is leading a team to hunt in China for fossils from Gigantopithecus blacki, the largest ever ape to walk the planet.
- Dr Sophie Calabretto is developing the maths that will help designers build more efficient aircraft and climate scientists develop the next generation of global climate models – and she’s worried about the declining number of girls studying maths.
More on each of these scientists below.
About the International Day of Women and Girls in Science
Women occupy less than 30 per cent of research and development jobs worldwide, according to UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
Despite efforts to inspire and engage women and girls in science there remains a significant gender gap at all levels of science, technology, engineering and maths across the world.
The International Day of Women and Girls in Science seeks to address this issue. Declared by the UN in 2015, it’s observed every year on 11 February.
Four scientists from Macquarie University are available to speak to media about the day, their scientific careers and why they believe more women should be active participants in science.
Professor Barbara Messerle
Barbara is a research chemist designing better catalysts for use in industrial processes and green chemistry.
She is also the Executive Dean of Macquarie University’s Faculty of Science and Engineering, with a team of 360 academic staff and 6,400 students from undergraduate to PhD level.
Dr Shari Gallop
Shari is a researcher in coastal geoscience and oceanography, and co-founder of the international network, Women in Coastal Geoscience and Engineering.
Surprised by the level of gender inequality she encountered at the start of her academic career, she co-founded the network to do something about it.
In a column for Nature published last year Shari said: “By continuing to call out gender bias and inequality, we will help to build the track records of individual female scientists and to elevate women into more visible leadership roles in the geosciences and other disciplines.”
Associate Professor Kira Westaway
Kira’s research into modern humans and hobbits, has contributed to a transformation in our understanding of human evolution, what constitutes ‘being human’ and human dispersal across the globe.
Kira has used her research to capture the public imagination, both young and old, through a dedicated outreach program. Her research uses physics, earth science and biology, making it a powerful tool to engage people across the STEM topics.
Now she’s leading a team to hunt in China for fossils from Gigantopithecus blacki, the largest ever ape to walk the planet.
Dr Sophie Calabretto
Sophie is developing the maths that will help designers build more efficient aircraft and climate scientists develop the next generation of global climate models. In 2017 she was named one of the ABC’s ‘Top 5 under 40’ science communicators.
“The number of women studying higher mathematics in this country is declining rapidly, and this is the mathematics that will prepare people for the jobs of the future,” she said.
“I hope that seeing a woman pursuing (and enjoying) a career in applied mathematics can help break the stigma that exists for young women in STEM.”