Swinburne University of Technology’s Dr Muneera Bano and Felicity Furey are among 60 females in STEM announced today as 2019/2020 Superstars of STEM by Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, the Hon Karen Andrews.
Dr Muneera Bano is a software engineering lecturer and Felicity Furey is an Engineer in Residence at Swinburne's Engineering Practice Academy.
Dr Bano says she is excited and honoured to be selected as a superstar of STEM.
“Being connected with a wider group of amazing women means we can start to create new role models in STEM for young women in particular to aspire to.”
“Gender stereotypes in STEM disciplines can only be broken by giving visibility to female role model scientists, researchers and academics.”
Ms Furey is passionate about engaging young women to consider a career in STEM, particularly engineering.
“I walked into my first university lecture and I was really surprised there were about 12 women out of 120 people. I didn’t think it would be that low – and then it just didn’t change as I progressed through my career.”
“It’s important to me this changes because engineers create our world and yet we don’t have a diverse representation of people who are in our world actually doing that job.”
Superstars of STEM
Superstars of STEM was established in 2017 by Australia’s peak science and technology body, Science and Technology Australia (STA), to smash society's gender assumptions about scientists and increase the public visibility of women in STEM.
In Australia more than half of all undergraduates and half of PhD students are female. Almost 60 per cent of junior science lecturers are women. But only 16 per cent of top-level science and technology researchers, professors and professionals are women.
STA started Superstars of STEM to create a critical mass of celebrity Australian female scientists and technologists - role models for young women and girls – and to work towards equal representation in the media of women and men working in all fields in STEM.
The program equips female scientists and technologists with advanced communication skills and provides them with genuine opportunities to use these skills – in the media, on the stage and in speaking with decision makers.
“Each Superstar will connect with hundreds of school children; feature in local, national and international media; and serve as a representative for their work, their discipline and their sector,” says STA President, Professor Emma Johnston.
“We are extremely proud to have seen hundreds of capable, skilled, confident women apply for the program, and really look forward to sharing the stories of these impressive 60 Superstars with the world.”
Engineer in Residence at Swinburne’s Engineering Practice Academy, Dr Francesca Maclean, was named a Superstar of STEM in 2017.
Swinburne and gender equity
Swinburne is part of the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) pilot program to improve the promotion and retention of women and gender minorities in STEMM and this year Swinburne's action plan towards gender equity was recognised with an inaugural SAGE Athena SWAN Bronze Award. For the past nine years Swinburne has also been recognised by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) as an Employer of Choice for Women.