Women WiSE up at Griffith
5 Aug 2021
A group of like-minded young women have started a new support group for women studying STEM subjects at Griffith University. The idea to create Griffith WiSE - Women in STEM and Education was formed by four students after attending a professional development workshop.
Tiahna Cave (Data Science and Applied Maths), Kaylen Haua (Business and Environmental Science), Alison Butcher (Computer Science) and Angela Dunn (Civil Engineering) were discussing their respective fields of interest when it occurred to them that they should be doing more to support women studying in their subject areas.
Club Secretary Kaylen Haua says that while there are many clubs at Griffith and some that cater to specific fields of discipline like the Engineering Society, there wasn’t one to support and promote the advancement of women studying STEM subjects. The club was formed only three weeks ago and already has 44 members and intriguingly not all are female.
“While the idea is to support women in STEM, we decided that we didn’t want it to be an exclusive club, so some of our male friends have also joined to help advance the cause of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths”, Kaylen explains.
The aim of the group is to empower women in STEM and Education, create a social network, engage with the community, as well as providing networking and personal and professional development opportunities.
“STEM teachers play a key role in inspiring children to become the STEM leaders of future generations, so we believe they have a place in our club too”, enthuses their Secretary.
Redress the imbalance
Kaylen feels that many girls don’t pursue STEM careers because it’s still largely dominated by males and the girls don’t receive much encouragement.
“All of my STEM teachers at school were males, the main reason I chose this path is because I had a chemistry teacher who encouraged me. Even though I was good at chemistry I wasn’t keen on it for a career, that’s why I chose environmental science – I could follow my passion for the environment while using my chemistry skills as a foundation”, she says.
To help redress the gender imbalance the STEM Club also plans to hold events at high schools to encourage more girls to study degrees in STEM subjects.
“I don’t think girls realise how broad a STEM career can be”, says Kaylen. “There are so many pathways to choose from. It’s all about creating that awareness and sparking their interest in the possibilities.”
*Find out more about Griffith WiSE - Women in STEM and Education here.