Creating a better work environment

Thursday 24 November 2022

Women physicists from across the campus came together last week to change the culture and create a better work environment for the women-identifying members of the school. 

Sixty-one women joined the full-day event, undergraduates and PhD students up to distinguished professors, from the Research School of Physics, and the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, for networking, prizes, jobs and community-building.

“I was really excited and proud to see so much talent in one room,” said co-organiser Dr Noemie Bastidon.

“It was a window on the future for our guests. We had four great speakers with very different backgrounds that provided insights on their careers in an intimate setting.”

The event was sponsored by RSPhys, RSAA, CQC2T, Astro 3D, FLEET, TMOS, M3D, CGA, OzGrav and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Dark Matter Particle Physics.

“We’d like to thank our sponsors, who made the event possible - and more sponsors are needed for us to grow,” said Dr Bastidon.

The day began with a webinar from Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith, Australian Government Women in STEM Ambassador who spoke about programs for women in STEM, and the importance of reviewing them.

Inspiring shorter talks took place in the afternoon, where Distinguished Professor Susan Scott, Professor Fiona Jenkins and Dr Mary Gray encouraged the audience to build networks of support instead of competition.

The student poster prize was won by Shiyu Wei from Materials Physics, for her poster entitled InP Nanowire Array for Gas Sensor Applications, who took home $200.

The winner of the Women in Physics logo competition was also announced, with Dige Wang from Quantum Science and Technology being selected for her atom-inspired design.

Along the way the organisers polled the audience on their experiences as women in physics, to build up data for a publication on equity and diversity.

The day concluded with a job fair involving 11 employers showcasing vacant positions, from start ups, through centres of excellence to research departments. 

Aside from the practical aspects, there was an air of celebration, said co-organiser Dr Julie Tournet.

“We have been building a community of Women in Physics for almost two years now and this is an occasion to celebrate our achievements and our bonds. A well-deserved party for our friends, mentors and colleagues!” she said.

The committee is seeking more volunteers to join and help build the program.


Dr Noemie Bastidon

Further reading

read more

Related news stories

Neurons, Lions and Electoral Boundaries - New Topological Research

Congratulations to Associate Professor Vanessa Robins, co-editor of a new book, Research In Computational Topology 2, part of the Association for Women in Mathematics series. The book comprises 12 peer-reviewed papers that came out of a computational topology workshop in 2019, spanning neuron connections...

Fictional issues tackling the real problems

Fiona McTavish found that no one was taking her scientific discovery seriously, so she decided to fix that by dressing as a man. Many frustrated female scientists must have considered this course of action, and would love to know how it went. If you want to know, dear reader, you’ll have to read...

New Parents' room an oasis for Mums and Dads.

There is a new oasis for parents in the Research School of Physics – a room stocked with supplies and toys, where they can breastfeed quietly, or play noisily with their little ones, without fear of disturbing colleagues. The parents’ room in the Cockcroft building features a kitchenette,...

Gravitational wave guru first Aussie to win top global science prize

One of the world’s leading physicists who is helping unlock the Universe’s most complex mysteries is the first Australian to win the prestigious Blaise Pascal Medal in recognition of her incredible research and leadership in science. Distinguished Professor Susan Scott, a theoretical physicist...