“The world needs science and science needs women and girls”: Celebrating the International Day of Women and Girls in Science
On the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, Jessica Huxley and Emma Fakes are proof that the Northern Territory benefits from having women at the forefront of scientific research.
With women comprising less than 30 per cent of the world’s scientific researchers, the United Nations has designated 11 February as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science to encourage more females into scientific careers.
Jessica and Emma work together in Power and Water’s Remote Water Services team, monitoring water quality throughout remote Northern Territory and coming up with innovative solutions to the many water quality challenges remote Aboriginal communities face.
Both Jessica and Emma were attracted to the discipline of science due to the opportunities to get out in the field to develop solutions to real problems.
“I specifically moved to the Territory so I could work on water quality in remote communities. Women play a critical role in the everyday use of water and it is vital that woman are involved in the planning and designing of water services,” Jessica said.
They agree that while the field is still male dominated, the number of women in environmental science is slowly rising and they are heartened by seeing more women in leadership roles, and in particular the recent appointment of Djuna Pollard as Power and Water CEO.
“Power and Water are moving towards having more women in senior positions which is encouraging and inspiring,” Emma said.
Jessica and Emma are urging girls not to stop studying science due to community perceptions of what a scientist looks and acts like.
“It’s important for girls to know that they can study science, be comfortable as a woman and excel in a male dominated field,” Jessica said.
“Women play a critical role in science. By not being involved you’re going to deprive the world of your thoughts, ideas and creativity.”
“The world needs science and science needs women and girls.”
Jessica Huxley (left) and Emma Fakes in a lab at the Ben Hammond Complex