International Women's Day: the role of female scientists

Burnet Institute

08 March, 2012

International Women's Day embraces women from all walks of life

International Women’s Day celebrates women’s successes, but also highlights the inequities that still need to be redressed – in the workplace, the Boardroom, the home.

On IWD 2012 and almost one year on from the inaugural Women in Science and Engineering Summit (WiSE) at Parliament House in Canberra, many recommendations are being implemented across the science and biomedical research sector to retain and foster female scientists, but there is still much to be done.

Burnet Board member and former Leader of the Australian Democrats, Natasha Stott Despoja AM, says this year’s IWD theme: “Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures” underlines the important role that female researchers play in encouraging and mentoring future scientists.

“We know that more females are studying medical science at university than males, but the industry has been losing them mid-career, for a variety of reasons,” Ms Stott Despoja said.

“At Burnet, we are supporting and encouraging our young female researchers to become independent lab heads, project leaders and be actively involved in our research future.”

Stott Despoja is one of five highly esteemed women on the Burnet Board.

“I am proud of the gender balance on the Burnet Board and am inspired to be working alongside such outstanding females as Professor Pip Pattison, Professor Christina Mitchell, Mary Waldron and Mary Padbury.”

On International Women’s Day 2012, Burnet Director and CEO, Professor Brendan Crabb reaffirmed the Institute’s commitment to address issues that profoundly affect women.

“Although Burnet is a health focused research and public health agency, much of our work is, in effect, focused on addressing issues that are the result of profound injustice and inequality,” he said.

“Never is that more apparent than in the appalling lack of human rights faced by many women throughout the world, especially those who are poor."

IWD was honoured for the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on 19 March 1911. More than one million women and men attended IWD rallies campaigning for women’s rights to work, vote, be trained, to hold public office and end discrimination.

In its 101-year history IWD has grown to become a global day of recognition and celebration across the world.

Find out more information about the WiSE 2011 Summit

Find out more about International Women’s Day events in Australia.

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Burnet Institute

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