The power of storytelling: increasing visibility of women in STEMM

Curtin University’s Professor Sonya Girdler  and Professor Julianne Reid feature in episode 6 of Think Difference.

Headshot of Professor Julianne Reid
Professor Julianne Reid, Associate Provost, Curtin University
Headshot of Professor Sonya Girdler
Professor Sonya Girdler, Director, Curtin Autism Research Group

Gender equity is a whole of university issue and not just a problem for women, according to Professor Julianne Reid, Associate Provost at Curtin University. 

“The whole concepts and principles [of gender equity, diversity and inclusion] need to be embedded across the university,” says Professor Reid, who is leading the delivery of Curtin’s Athena Swan action plan. 

The University has kept up the momentum in implementing gender equity initiatives since receiving their Athena Swan Bronze Award in December 2018. 

“You need to be constantly diligent to monitor the progress in your action plan,” says Professor Reid. 

Curtin was the first Western Australian university to sign the Joint Sector Position Statement to preserve gender equity as a higher education priority throughout the COVID-19 crisis and recovery period and is currently carrying out a research study to assess the impacts of the pandemic on its workforce. 

As part of its action plan, Curtin has teamed up with the Centre for Stories to increase the visibility of women in STEMM. One academic who has taken part is Professor Sonya Girdler, Director of the Curtin Autism Research Group, one of the largest Australian research groups affiliated with the Autism Cooperative Research Centre. 

Professor Girdler shares her career path and how the storytelling initiative helped her find her voice. 

“Stories are how we make meaning, share history and inspire each other,” says Professor Girdler. 

She also describes how SAGE has made a visible impact on diversity at Curtin. 

“Universities should be thought leaders, but also practise what they preach,” says Professor Girdler. 

“Curtin is a university that embraces diversity and promotes a values-driven culture.” 

Listen to episode six now or catch up on previous episodes. You can also subscribe to Think Difference on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts and Spotify.