MORE boys than girls are studying physics, information technology and maths in Queensland, and young women from five regional Gold Coast schools are travelling to Brisbane to help put a stop to it.
Students from A.B. Paterson College, Coomera Anglican College, St Stephen’s College, St Hilda’s School and Flagstone Community College will be attending this weekend’s “Aspiring Women in Science” conference at St Aidan’s Anglican Girls School to learn what opportunities existed for women at the top in the scientific world.
Science and Innovation Minister Ian Walker said it was important to address the gender imbalance which was far greater in some instances, with only 26 per cent of Year 11 Physics students being female.
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“The latest data from Microsoft shows that 80 per cent of jobs globally in the next decade will require technology skills, while science, technology, engineering and mathematics occupations are growing by 17 per cent,” Mr Walker said.
“Technology also plays an important part in the four pillars of our economy, tourism, agriculture, resources and construction that we promised at the election to grow.
“If young women don’t embrace these subjects, they’re cancelling themselves out of many career opportunities while they’re still in the classroom.”
Mr Walker said the “Aspiring Women in Science” conference was one attempt to redress the gender imbalance in the scientific world.
“The Gold Coast students will be among almost 200 of Queensland’s brightest young female science students from 39 secondary schools around the state coming to Brisbane to attend the conference,” he said.
“They could be Queensland’s Marie Curie or Jane Goodall, or perhaps they’ll set their own benchmark.
“Whatever the future holds for them, they are keeping their options open by embracing science.
“The Queensland Government has a strong plan for the future and conferences and initiatives like this will help us to build a brighter future in this State.”
The conference, sponsored by St Aidan’s and the University of Queensland, will host young women from Year 10 to Year 12 to hear from leading female scientists.
Speakers will include Professor Ian Frazer and Aideen McInerney-Leo, an expert in human genetics from the UK. Queensland speakers include Associate Professor Emma Duncan, a specialist in endocrinology at Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, and Dr Carmel McDougall, a marine biologist who attended Our Lady’s College in Annerley and went on to study at the University of Oxford.
For more information on the conference go to http://www.aspiringscience.com.au/SitePages/AWS2014.aspx