More than 50 first year female engineering and computing students celebrated the start of the academic year yesterday at a high tea with current students and staff from the College. Although there were sandwiches, cupcakes and iced tea the excitement in the room was not due to the sugar which had swiftly been consumed, but the anticipation of studying alongside a strong cohort of female minds and an eagerness to start their university life together.
February 11 is a date that won’t strike many as an important one to remember, but it should be. It was the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) 2016 International Day of Women and Girls in Science.
UNESCO’s message is clear, without investing in female empowerment through Science, Technology, Engineering and Math; we will never see a sustainable future which promotes human rights, dignity, poverty eradication and the protection of the planet. More than ever, the world needs science and science needs women.
In 2015 a group of dedicated ANU students founded Fifty50, a student-led gender equity initiative determined to see more girls studying in STEM, pursuing careers in the industry and provided with new opportunities for mentorship and networking.
Francesca Maclean the founder and Co-President of the Fifty50 initiative in the College of Engineering and Computer Science is passionate about seeing a shift in the industry.
“It was so great to see the energy of 50 undergraduate women, but the statistics don’t lie, we need to provide mentoring opportunities for these girls to ensure that STEM fields retain their talent, as currently only 17% of scientist in senior roles will be women.”
If you would like to be part of Fifty50 First Year Female Mentoring Program, then make sure you sign up!