Dr Belinda Abbott discusses her work mentoring women in chemistry and her hopes for SAGE Athena Swan at La Trobe: she is one of six LIMS representatives on the university’s SAGE Self-Assessment Team.
‘When I was an undergraduate, all my chemistry lecturers were male, while half of my undergraduate colleagues were female. Change was inevitable, but it has been slower than my twenty-year-old self predicted.
‘I am Treasurer and Past President of Women in Chemistry (WinC), one of the most active groups of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute in Victoria. I joined the committee in 2012, serving as Chair in 2016. WinC runs regular events, primarily with female speakers, with lots of discussion and opportunities for networking and informal mentoring. It seems there is a need for women to be reminded that their enthusiasm for chemistry is not only shared by men.
‘Joining the SAGE Self-Assessment Team seems like a natural extension of the work I have already undertaken as part of WinC. We aim to take a good look at how La Trobe’s policies and practices affect people, not just women, in both the Colleges of SHE and ASSC. I hope LIMS will be a major contributor to ensure there are no glass ceilings at La Trobe.’