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International Day of Women and Girls in Science

10 February 2017
Inspiring women and girls to take up a career in science

The 11th of February is the UN International Day of Women and Girls in Science. A day both recognising achievements of women in science and trying to inspire and engage women and girls in science.

This year the day is held under the motto: “Gender, Science and Sustainable Development: The Impact of Media” putting an emphasize on the role the media plays in empowering women and achieving gender equality. Despite all efforts made in the past women and girls continue to be excluded from participating fully in science – a situation that has to change if developmental goals set in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development are to be fulfilled. 

The University of Sydney took an important step towards changing the gender inequality in science in 2016 when launching the Science in Australia Gender Equity project. The University thereby is setting itself clear goals for reaching gender equality throughout its faculties.

Chancellor Belinda Hutchinson called the launch “More than a step in the right direction – it is a flying leap”. And Professor Rosanne Taylor, Dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Science, said success will be when “women express their authentic identity at the University...not have to fit in and not rock the boat but bring their whole selves…when that is possible everyone will benefit.”

For many of the leading academics encouraging women and girls to strive for careers in science is an important step towards achieving gender equality. Commenting that Australia is struggling to not be defined by an “all-male, all-white” narrative Vice-Chancellor Michael Spence welcomed the creation of the initiative and asked “Which kind of Australia will we be – the sort that creates opportunities for all, to better face our future challenges?”

The International Day of Women and Girls in Science is all about this question and so is the University of Sydney.

Want to know more about the great female researchers working on campus. Check out a few of our stories about their work and their career paths: 

Meet the University of Sydney's women of STEMM who are fighting for gender equality.

Learn more about Agriculture Professor Margaret Barbour who joined 75 other women scientists in a year-long program intending to increase the influence and impact of women with a background in science.

Follow PhD student Julia De Bruyn to Africa for her latest research project.

Read about Professor Jennifer Byrne and why she’s concerned about questionable research papers that show evidence of scientific fraud.

Discover how physics PhD student Atiyeh Zarifi is changing the world one wavelength at a time

Find out more about Calida Tang who studies a Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Laws and plays the viola in the Sydney Youth Orchestra.

Take a look back at our Women in Maths panel hosted at the University in January 2017.

Read all about 26 Indonesian female NGO leaders who joined a course at the University of Sydney to unite for women rights.

Meet Dr Julie Schneider who was awarded with an inaugural Women in Science award for her research on the impacts and implications of people living with sensory impairment.