Women in mathematical and physical sciences

The Department of Mathematical and Physical Sciences is committed to encouraging and supporting women in mathematics, statistics and physics, at all levels, from primary school to university.

Better representation of women is one of our School’s key objectives.

Over the last decade, almost 50% of our mathematics and physics doctoral candidates were women.

Giving women opportunities to pursue careers in the mathematical and physical sciences helps to narrow the gender pay gap, improves productivity and economic growth, enhances organisational performance, and contributes to a diverse and talented science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) workforce.

Find out more about our scholarships.

Gender equality at La Trobe

La Trobe University is committed to achieving gender equality in all operations.

This includes removing barriers to the career progression of women, transgender and gender non-binary staff, and increasing gender diversity in senior roles.

We signed up to the Athena SWAN Charter in 2015 and received a Science in Australia Gender Equity Bronze Institutional Award in 2019.

Find out more about our programs.

Our students, staff and alumna

In 2021, Dr Amanda Shaker was an invited presenter at La Trobe's International Day of Women and Girls in Science event.

In 2021, Dr Ayreena Bakhtawar, a recent PhD graduate and adjunct, organised an online workshop for students at Fatima Jinnah Women’s University Rawalpindi (Pakistan) to promote women in STEM. The event featured speakers from the Department and the School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematical Sciences.

Dr Rebecca Chisholm has given talks promoting mathematical biology and women in STEM.

Twelve of our recent female mathematics and statistics students – including Elisa Tancredi – have received Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute Vacation Research Scholarships. In most years, around 50% of our recipients have been women.

Associate Professor Narelle Brack has encouraged and supported women in physics throughout her career, participates in and organises women in science events, and has chaired diversity and inclusion committees.

Amelia Vella, a graduate of our Master of Data Science degree, recently completed her industry project with Telstra.


We have a range of scholarships available for women in mathematical and physical sciences.

Find out more about La Trobe’s scholarship opportunities.

Photo of Dr Ravindi Nanayakkara

During my PhD at La Trobe, I developed novel statistical tools to better understand the universe in its early stages. I appreciate the beauty of statistics, and would like to help spark curiosity about it within others.

Dr Ravindi Nanayakkara
Department of Mathematical and Physical Sciences
Photo of Associate Professor Narelle Brack

Studying physics opens up career opportunities for female students in many non-traditional fields. Our students bring highly-valued problem solving skills and different ways of thinking and working to their careers.