BRIGHT FUTURES: Young Women in Sciences event inspired young women at Chinchilla State High to dream big. Pic: Supplied
BRIGHT FUTURES: Young Women in Sciences event inspired young women at Chinchilla State High to dream big. Pic: Supplied

Women in science event inspired new path for students

ORIGIN Energy and the Zonta eClub of Queensland joined forces with help from Education Queensland to host the Young Women in Sciences event for female secondary school students at Chinchilla State High, and across the Western Downs.

Chinchilla State High principal Ian Insley said it was great opportunity for students to broaden their horizon and think big in terms of their future.

“The ability to network with successful women has prompted a number of girls to rethink their subject selections for 2021 and take a different path,” he said.

“The face-to-face and virtual nature of the forum gave the girls at Chinchilla SHS and eight other schools the opportunity to be inspired and challenged by listening to the amazing guest speakers.

“It was a unique opportunity to hear about the challenges, successes and opportunities of working in these industries.”

Origin Energy general manager at Condabri, Talinga and Orana Assets Alexandra Kennedy-Clark said Origin is excited to be able to help young woman have the same support and opportunities as young men.

“Origin is committed to women achieving their full potential and driving positive change for gender balance and an inclusive workplace”, Ms Kennedy-Clark said.

“We hope these events help bring employers, guest speakers and students together to expand career ideas and drive cultural change to remove barriers which may prevent girls and women from pursuing STEM education and careers.”

Origin Instrumentation and Electrical apprentice Steph Usher said, the Women in science event would be instrumental and cultivating confidence in the next generation of women in the within the energy sector.

“(It) was an amazing way for students to get a personalised approach to STEM by people working in the field,” she said.

“I wish I’d had the opportunity to attend something like this when I was in school.”

The event brought together female students with inspirational speakers Dr Joni Systma, Dr Lucy Watt, Charlotte Cormack, Allison Gwitt, Gabriella Behr and Origin’s Steph Usher and Jeannie Sawka.

Research by the Australian Government highlighted that female students are less interested and less confident in STEM subjects compared to males, and events like the Young Women in Sciences help students develop confidence, and skills in STEM – helping to brig the equality gap.

Participation of women in STEM is increasing, however research by Youth in STEM found that 41 per cent of male students participate in STEM-related subjects while the number of females was less than 20 per cent in 2019.

The need for women to be hired and promoted into roles where they can embrace future opportunities provided by STEM-driven industries in an inclusive economy is essential.

With a changing global economy, introducing new industries requiring new capabilities, ensuring a talent pool of Australian workers with knowledge and skills in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) is a key priority to keep our economy growing.