Women in science to be celebrated at conference in Auckland

New Zealand’s female scientists will be celebrated in July when the ninth triennial Association for Women in the Sciences conference is hosted in Auckland.

The two-day conference will offer opportunities for women working, or wanting to work, in any field of science to develop their skills to benefit both their careers and personal lives. Networking opportunities will allow attendees to learn from each other’s stories.

The organisers say the programme has been developed to appeal to all women with an interest in science, including research scientists, administrators, businesswomen and educators. The programme is also intended to be accessible and of interest to young women nearing the end of their secondary or tertiary studies.

“AWIS was created more than 30 years ago, and the conference offers a great opportunity to reflect on how the science sector has changed over this time and how the organisation can best support its members into the future,” says National Convenor Emma Timewell.

“Over the course of the two day event, we will identify the changes in science that have influenced women in the past and, more importantly, the factors influencing the decisions young women are making when entering a career in science, and how we can support them to ensure gender balance at all levels of the science system into the future.

“Women are still under-represented in the New Zealand science system, particularly in the upper levels of both academia and industry. AWIS provides opportunities, like the conference, for women to share their issues, learn from each other, and celebrate their achievements. We hope that women at all stages of their careers, from secondary students to the most experienced, will attend the conference and benefit from the topics under discussion, learn something new and extend their network.”

Registration for AWIS2017 is now open at www.scienceevents.co.nz/awis2017, with early bird pricing valid until mid-May. The conference is taking place on July 13 and 14 at the Heritage Hotel in Auckland.

The conference is being sponsored by Te Pūnaha Matatini, the Ministry of Business, Innovtion and Employment, Plant & Food Research, the NZ National Commission for UNESCO, The MacDiarmid Institute, The University of Auckland Faculty of Science and the Cawthron Institute.


Nominations sought for mentoring award

Applications are open for the Miriam Dell Award for Excellence in Science Mentoring.

This is the second time the award has been offered. The inaugural award was presented to Dr Judith O’Brien of the University of Auckland in 2013.

The Miriam Dell Award is awarded on a biennial basis to someone who demonstrates outstanding mentoring efforts to retain females in science, mathematics or technology.

Nominees can be from any part of the science system – including teachers at primary or secondary schools, lecturers or supervisors in tertiary education, or from commercial science-based organisations. They may have mentored, formally or informally, females at any stage in their career – from school age to the science workforce.

The award is named for Dame Miriam Dell, Patron of the Association for Women in the Sciences, botanist, secondary school teacher and advocate for women’s advancement.

“Encouraging women in science is incredibly important,” says Emma Timewell, National Convenor of AWIS.

“Having females across the science system provides a much-needed mix of viewpoints, skills and cultures that will allow New Zealand to excel in its endeavours. One of the key actions that supports this is ensuring females are adequately mentored at every stage of their career, from school to retirement. This Award acknowledges those mentors, particularly those who go beyond the call of duty to ensure girls and women are supported in meeting their scientific potential.”

Nomination forms and more information on the award are available on the awis.org.nz website.
Nominations for this year’s Award close on 30 June.