One of the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute’s (AMSI) newest Choose Maths Careers Ambassadors, Swinburne Astronomer Associate Professor Alan Duffy, Lead Scientist of the Royal Institution of Australia, is urging girls to pursue mathematics and help secure the nation’s STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) capability.
“I want to see girls engaged in subjects such as mathematics, because I know how smart they are and how much the world needs their brilliance as part of the scientific workforce,” he said.
He will join a predominately female panel at today’s Choose Maths International Women’s Day Careers event in Melbourne to shine a light on careers in maths. Also speaking are WEHI researchers, Lyndal Henden and Saskia Freytag, Cassie Pennicuik from the Country Fire Authority, Marketing Analytics Director, Lesley Ward and Karin Ditchfield from BHP.
The panel is expected to address 400 Years 9 to 12 girls from 17 schools across the state, with students to be treated to a viewing of the first suite of Choose Maths videos. Welcoming the chance to add his voice to the campaign, Professor Duffy said his message is simple – don’t let barriers get in the way of your dreams.
“Girls shouldn’t let anything or anyone stop them studying mathematics. There is a universe to explain, diseases to cure and world-changing technologies to invent. They need to know they are smart enough, skilled enough, good enough to do this and more,” he said.
As well as a lack of careers awareness, findings from Tabcorp’s Advancing the STEM Conversation June 2017 show perception of ability (55 per cent of female respondents doubted their ability to work in or study in STEM) and a view that disciplines such as mathematics as boy’s clubs (20 per cent of female respondents) remain barriers for women and girls.
This, according to AMSI Schools Program Manager and Choose Maths Project Director, Janine McIntosh, is a reminder of why the Choose Maths project and initiatives such as the careers awareness campaign are so important.
“Maths is an enabler that opens career pathways across nearly every sector. It is our mission to rewrite gender narratives and help girls, their teachers and parents understand these opportunities and see them as real and valuable options,” she said.
Launched in 2017, the Choose Maths Careers Awareness campaign aims to put resources at the fingertips of students, teachers and parents to help build understanding of careers in maths. Excited to be part of the new wave of ambassadors to join the campaign in 2018, Associate Professor Duffy praised the AMSI Choose Maths project for its leadership on challenging Australia’s maths culture and the engagement of girls.
About Choose Maths
Delivered by the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI) and funded by the BHP Billiton Foundation, the CHOOSEMATHS project is a $22 million national initiative to empower Australian students to pursue mathematics. Over five-years, the project will work with students, parents and teachers to turn around community attitude and participation of mathematics and statistics as a career choice, especially for girls and young women.
Swinburne Astronomer Associate Professor Alan Duffy, Lead Scientist of the Royal Institution of Australia
Janine McIntosh, AMSI Schools Program Manager and Choose Maths Project Director
Choose Maths Careers Awareness Ambassadors by Request
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