It started as yet another busy day at the University of Western Australia, juggling the demands of leading a research group of about 30 dedicated neuroscientists, atypically for science comprising more women than men. Our studies encompassed recovery from brain damage, to colour vision in sea horses and kangaroos. My life seemed mapped out when the phone rang and I was asked to provide a curriculum vitae. In just a few weeks, I had become the first woman to be a Chief Scientist anywhere in Australia.
A new dimension began and for seven amazing years I advised the State Government on science, innovation and technology, as well as acting as a Science Ambassador here and overseas. I still promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) with, as then, a special focus on young people. Our future wellbeing socially, environmentally and economically will be underpinned by STEM, along with the Arts and Culture (hence the new acronym including the word Arts, STEAM). Hence I was and remain concerned that too many young people, especially girls, drop STEM subjects. We need to change mind sets.
We cannot leave everything to Governments. Philanthropy will be really important to secure a future for our young people as it will for many other worthy causes across Australia and the world. That is why I support and applaud the work of 100 Women.
It is great, for example, that 100 Women supports a project to train ten Aboriginal women from remote communities to become community researchers, exploring intervention for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Each woman will be supported to complete a Certificate II in Community Health Research and will have access to valuable work experience for future careers in research.
So please do join us in 100 Women: you can make a difference, meet great people and feel really good about yourself for supporting something special. All pretty good reasons to my reckoning!
Professor Lyn Beazley AO FTSE FACE CIE (Aust)