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Sally-Ann Williams to lead STEM diversity panel

Manufacturing News

Chief Executive Officer of technology incubator Cicada Innovations Sally-Ann Williams (pictured) will chair an independent expert review panel for the Pathway to Diversity in STEM Review announced today by the federal government.

According to an announcement she was chosen as she is well aware of the environment that women entrepreneurs face and the importance of diversity to the design of technology to ensure it is fit for purpose.

The review is part of the government’s commitment to boost diversity and increase the participation of women in Australia’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) sectors.

Announcing the review panel and its terms of reference industry minister Ed Husic said: “It’s vital that Australians from all parts of the community have a chance to contribute to our ambitious scientific and technological agenda.”

Husic said the expert panel brought a wide range of experience to the task and would contribute recommendations and guidance on improving diversity in STEM.

“The Pathway to Diversity in STEM review is about helping to create equal opportunities for women and historically under-represented groups to pursue education and careers in STEM, supporting them to unlock their full potential, and bolstering Australia’s STEM skills pipeline.

“STEM communities that are diverse, inclusive and collaborative are crucial to meeting the challenges of the future and maximising the nation’s potential.

“It also makes good business sense: studies have found firms with diverse workforces perform better.”

Other panel members are:

  • Dr Parwinder Kaur, an experienced biotechnologist, a passionate science communicator and an advocate for gender equity, working to close the gender gap in technology
  • Ms Mikaela Jade, a proud Cabrogal woman of the Dharug-speaking nations, passionate about storytelling, technology and knowledge-sharing including the importance of diversity in STEM, particularly by including First Nations voices
  • And Acting Deputy Secretary Narelle Luchetti will be the ex-officio member, who will bring experience in the Australian Public Service and public policy development, as well as implementation and process expertise to the review.

Husic also announced the Government’s Women in STEM Ambassador, Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith, had been reappointed for a further 12 months to November 2023.

This will mean Professor Harvey-Smith can undertake important research to support the review.

Husic said: “Professor Harvey-Smith will provide an important contribution to our next steps to improve diversity in STEM, which I know she is very passionate about.

“She has been an excellent leader within the STEM sector and will continue to provide expert advice and advocate the case for change.

“In doing so, she will continue to be a visible role model to encourage girls and women to enter STEM education and careers.”

Husic made the announcements at the Elevate: Boosting women in STEM event, at which 50 undergraduate and postgraduate STEM scholarships were awarded to women in STEM fields.

Funded by the Government and operated by the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering, Elevate fosters more women-led collaborations in applied research and business, growing professional skills in STEM, and propelling more women into leadership.

The terms of reference for the Pathway to Diversity in STEM Review will be available at:

Picture: Sydney School of Entrepreneurship/Sally-Ann Williams

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