International Day of Women and Girls in Science 11 February

International Day of Women and Girls in Science 11 February

"I hadn't been aware that there were doors closed to me until I started knocking on them."

— Gertrude B. Elion, biochemist, pharmacologist, and winner of the 1988 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

"Today we celebrate the achievements by women in STEM. We are committed to working to see that opportunities for women continue to increase in our disciplines."

— Professor Jordan Nash, Dean, Faculty of Science, Monash University

Outstanding women share their stories about science

Giulia Ghedini

Dr Giulia Ghedini, Research Fellow, School of Biological Sciences

“On International Women and Girls in Science day, I would like the outstanding work of female researchers to be recognised.  I look forward to the day where we won't have to worry about gender anymore. If science is your aspiration, embrace it and enjoy the journey. There is always a lot of uncertainty in this type of career but if you take it step-by-step it can be a rewarding journey. Having mentors and supervisors that support you is fundamental. I study how ecological communities function as a whole by measuring how much resources they consume and produce, and looking at how external factors such as global warming, alter these processes. My work aims to clarify how environmental change will impact the fundamental processes of food consumption and oxygen production in natural communities. With this knowledge we can better forecast ecological change and implement plans to minimise drastic changes. Sometimes I worry about being able to reach the standards that will allow me to be a successful researcher. It is a continuous challenge but I will tackle it with the good support of mentors and hard work. I am excited to start my DECRA (Discovery Early Career Researcher Award) - I want to embrace the sense of discovery of the research and love the adventurous nature and flexibility of this job.”

Dr Carly Cook

Dr Carly Cook, Lecturer, Monash School of Biological Sciences

“I’d like to see gender equality in the Sciences, and a reasonable expectation of equal pay for equal work. My advice to a female who aspires to a career in Science or Science study is to embrace maths because it’s central to everything we do in Science and can be your greatest tool. But most importantly, do what inspires you, because that’s how you’ll remain motivated during the difficult times in your career. I’m a conservation scientist. My research is focused around improving the use of science in environmental management decisions. I try to understand the level of integration of science in decision-making, the barriers to better integration and to design decision support tools that can facilitate the uptake of science. I hope my research makes the world a better place by giving decision makers the tools to make more successful management decisions, and when unsuccessful, to learn from their actions to improve their effectiveness in the future. The significant and continuing erosion of environmental protections in Australia and around the world keeps me up at night. My research has revealed that 1,500 protected areas in Australia have had their protection reduced or removed all together over the past 20 years. And we now have a shameful record in clearing native vegetation. I would love to understand how we can get the public engaged with conservation again, so they can pressure governments to reinstate or increase protections for biodiversity. What’s good about life right now is that I feel very lucky to be able to pursue my passions, and balance this with having a family.”

Yona Nebel Jacobsen

Dr Yona Nebel-Jacobsen, Research Fellow, School of Atmosphere and Environment

"On International Women and Girls in Science day, I would like to see more girls taking up STEM subjects. My advice to aspiring female scientists is don’t let anyone discourage you from your dream. I am an isotope geochemist and I oversee a clean laboratory facility at EAE, the Isotopia Lab. I work with researchers and students, supporting their research and learning. My research interests are around the Early Earth. I hope to make the world a better place not only by what I do but by how I do it. I try to create a safe and open work environment for everyone. I am not only engaged in gender equity by chairing the school's committee but am also an ambassador for mental health first aid and trained in suicide alertness. These 'non-academic' skills are important for creating a productive, safe work environment. Sometimes I worry about the future. Climate change worries me, the rise of right-wing nationalism worries me, not stopping the crisis in domestic violence worries me. But there is also much to be grateful for right now: my family is healthy, I’m supported in my career and I have a job that I enjoy."