Women in Science first for Tasmania

22 May 2003

Tasmania has joined the Women in Science Enquiry Network (WISENET).

Launched today by Dr Nan Bray, former Chief, CSIRO Marine Research, WISENET's aim is to attract more women into science where they are currently under-represented.

The network is not limited to a women-only membership. WISENET welcomes men who share its objectives of encouraging more women to become involved in all aspects of science, and also runs as an informal contact group for anyone interested in promoting women in science.

WISENET has proved effective in other states since 1984.

The Tasmanian link group has been established by Australian Antarctic Division glaciologist, Dr Barbara Smith, who recognised the advantages WISENET had delivered in other regions and believed that Tasmania could also benefit.

Dr Smith said she had been overwhelmed by the interest and support she'd received from around the state.

"If the response is any indication, the future of WISENET in Tasmania looks very promising.

"Each branch tends to develop its own flavour. In Tasmania, we have the hub of Antarctic science and that is an obvious theme we can capitalise on. However, there are many other fields of science that we do well in Tasmania. All of these are available to women and WISENET will be doing its best to ensure that they are aware of the opportunities available," Dr Smith said.

"It is a pretty exciting time for science in Tasmania. We are involved in some very significant research here and there is no reason why more women cannot be part of that."

Dr Smith said that as word of WISENET had spread, there had been genuine interest from many male colleagues who were keen to support the network's objectives:

  • to examine the education and employment structures which currently restrict women's opportunities in the sciences
  • to gather and disseminate data on women in science, the sciences here including physical, social and life sciences, mathematics, computing, medicine, engineering and associated technologies
  • to explore linkages between the different disciplines and promote communication between scientists and the community on social and environmental issues
  • to examine the relation between scientific research and technology and promote research and technology more appropriate to world needs
  • to explore programs for change in the sciences and more democratic and participatory systems as an alternative to the male-dominated tradition
  • to build an active network of people interested in these issues and to liaise with other interested groups
  • to support appropriate action to achieve these objectives.