The achievements of Western Australian female scientists and researchers need to be better recognised to prevent them leaving the field, Women’s Interests Minister Sue Ellery told a group of high achieving professionals today.
Ms Ellery said the work of women in science is not as well known as that of their male counterparts and this led to difficulties keeping them in the industry.
“We need to encourage and acknowledge the contributions women make to science in this State, and especially recognise the difficulty many of them face juggling a professional career with motherhood and family commitments,” she said.
The Minister was addressing about 90 women from private business, professional associations, tertiary institutions, research centres and government agencies at the second Women in Science Breakfast at Parliament House.
“The women who attended are truly inspirational,” she said.
“Many have obtained the highest possible qualifications while juggling multiple roles of student, wife, mother, daughter and partner.”
Guest speaker Professor Lyn Beazley, Western Australia’s chief scientist who is well known for raising the profile of science within the community, said she wanted to see a higher representation of women in science occupations.
“Of the total number of people employed in the minerals and industry workforce in Australia, less than 20 per cent are female, and women comprise only 10 per cent of the total number of engineers employed in the engineering sector,” Professor Beazley said.
“A significant number of women (34 per cent) are graduates of science, information technology, architecture and engineering courses, however more women need to be retained in these professions later in their careers.
“It is important to recognise the contribution of women to science and the need to encourage and maintain women in the area.”
The inaugural Women in Science Breakfast was held in 2005 and hosted by Dr Judy Edwards MLA, the former Minister for Science and Technology.
Dr Edwards sits on the Women in Science Working Group chaired by Professor Beazley, which is part of the Premier’s Innovation and Science Council.
The Women in Science Breakfast today also launched the theme for International Women’s Day next year: ‘Women in Science and Technology’.
Ms Ellery said March 8 would hopefully encourage more young women to consider science as a profession, and reap the benefits of the current economic boom by pursuing science qualifications.
Minister's office: 9213 7150