Case study from: Advancing Women in STEM
As Australia’s first Women in STEM Ambassador, Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith, is at the forefront of the Australian Government’s efforts to increase visibility and encourage girls and women to study and work in STEM. She is ideally positioned to work at a national level to build relationships and act as a unifying force across the sector.
Professor Harvey-Smith is an award-winning astrophysicist, a prolific and talented science communicator, and committed to enhancing public understanding of science.
‘Having worked as an astrophysics researcher for the past 15 years, I was acutely aware of the issues that can create barriers to women in STEM. I have strived for many years within my workplaces and professional communities to create cultural and structural changes that make STEM better for all,’ says Professor Harvey-Smith, ‘but when the Australian Government’s Women in STEM Ambassador position was announced, a unique opportunity to change the world presented itself. I simply couldn’t resist.’
‘Australia needs a Women in STEM Ambassador to advocate for cultural change in STEM workplaces, to enhance the visibility of role models and to support and encourage young women to engage with STEM education,’ says Professor Harvey-Smith.
‘In this role, I will focus on raising awareness of the barriers faced by Women in STEM and bringing together evidence-based best practice and advice to organisations that will enable them to reduce barriers for women and under-represented groups,’ says Professor Harvey-Smith, ‘I will work across government, education, academia and industry to catalyse social and cultural change.’
‘I hope that in the future women are able to fully participate in STEM to strengthen Australia’s research, scientific and business capability and receive equal pay and recognition for their achievements,’ says Professor Harvey-Smith, ‘that systems will support women to stay in STEM careers, obstacles to career advancement will be removed. And that all girls will have the self-belief and encouragement to pursue STEM study and access opportunities.’
Email STEM [at] industry.gov.au
Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith. Image supplied by CSIRO