Gender and STEM Summit

Rethinking an issue that refuses to resolve

Despite decades of research, investment and policy development, the issue of gender and STEM engagement remains intractable. The problem of participation in STEM is deeply complex and involves multiple influences that often constitute barriers to equitable participation in STEM. The STEM communities have had a focus on girls in STEM in particular across these decades leading to interventions at a number of levels including curricular and pedagogical responses, careers advice, the use of role models, special events and single sex classes. Yet thus far little to no substantive change has occurred.

This Summit aims to move discussion and action on the issue of gender and STEM forward through an exploration of recent theorisations of gender and advances in considering issues of participation and engagement in STEM. In doing so, this Summit aims to open new perspectives that will inform a shift forward in gender equitable theorising and approaches to STEM education. The Summit will form the basis for a position paper that will be communicated with relevant STEM organisations.

Objectives of the event

  • Exploring current research, debates and frameworks in terms of gender disparities within STEM fields.
  • Examining current policies and practice and shaping the way forward.
  • Exploring intervention initiatives and strategies for upscaling.


Dr Victoria Millar

Senior Lecturer, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne

Victoria Millar‘s research interests are in physics and science education, particularly science participation, curriculum and interdisciplinarity. Victoria’s research contributes to both the research literature as well as commissioned research and teacher focussed reports. She has been involved in several national projects. These include projects aimed at improving participation in physics and science, projects on interdisciplinarity and physics education. She has also been involved in several projects and reports on science education for the Department of Education and Training.

Professor Helen Watt

Director of Research Development (Social Sciences), Professor of Educational Psychology, University of Sydney

Helen Watt is a motivation researcher whose projects address: declining participation in advanced sciences and mathematics especially by girls, and the engagement and wellbeing of beginning teachers, utilising long-term and large-scale survey data across comparative settings. She has published extensively on these topics, edited books and special issues, won research awards, extramural funding, and held leadership roles in national and international associations.

Professor Kathryn Scantlebury

Emerita Professor, University of Delaware. Honorary Professorial Fellow, University of Melbourne. Executive Board Member, Gender & Education Association

Kathryn (Kate) Scantlebury is a feminist/gender researcher in science education focusing on preservice teacher education, teachers’ professional development, and academic career paths in academe. Her current project uses new material feminism theories to examine students’ science learning and teachers’ practices in upper high school and undergraduate laboratories. Scantlebury is a guest researcher at the Centre for Gender Research at Uppsala University. She has served as a co-editor in chief for Gender and Education and is a lead editor for Cultural Studies of Science Education.

Mr Phil Kairns

Queer Officer, Monash Graduate Association, Monash University

Phil Kairns is a queer HDR student in the Faculty of Education and serves as a Queer Officer at Monash Graduate Association. His primary passion is promoting diversity and inclusion, particularly among LGBTIQA+ graduate students. In the Faculty of Education, Phil pursues a PhD, exploring the real-life experiences of queer individuals in Australian STEM education. With a background in Biomedical Science, microbiology, and teaching, Phil is committed to fostering diversity, inclusion, and social justice within the educational realm.

Alfred Deakin Professor Jill Blackmore AM

Alfred Deakin Professor and Professor of Education, Deakin University

Jill Blackmore is Alfred Deakin Professor in the Faculty of Arts and Education, Deakin University, former Inaugural Director of the Centre for Research in Educational Futures and Innovation and Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences Australia. Her research interests include, from a feminist perspective, globalisation, education policy and governance in universities, TAFE, schools and community; international and intercultural education; educational restructuring, leadership and organisational change; spatial redesign and innovative pedagogies; teachers’ and academics’ work and equity policy.

Dr Marguerite Evans-Galea

Co-founder of Women in STEMM Australia, University of Melbourne

Marguerite Evans-Galea was the inaugural Executive Director of the Industry Mentoring Network in STEM (IMNIS) with the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE). Committed to empowering early-mid career researchers (EMCR) and women in science, Dr Evans-Galea regularly mentors students, fellows and faculty, was the founding chair of the EMCR Forum with the Australian Academy of Science, co-founder of Women in STEMM Australia, and serves on the Science in Australia Gender Equity Expert Advisory Group. She is also an active contributor to the APEC Women in STEMM program.

Dr Isabelle Kinglsey

Senior Research Associate for the Office of the Women in STEM Ambassador, University of New South Wales

Isabelle Kingsley is Senior Research Associate for the Office of the Women in STEM Ambassador, an Australian Government initiative to address gender inequities in STEM hosted at the University of New South Wales. Isabelle leads research projects to investigate how to dismantle barriers to girls’ and women’s participation in STEM. She also leads national efforts to embed evaluation into equity programs, producing an evaluation guide to support equity program evaluation on a national scale. Her role also involves contributing evidence-based advice to federal government Ministers and the STEM sector on the best ways to improve gender equity in STEM.

Professor Kylie Smith

Professor Early Childhood Studies, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne

Kylie Smith is Professor of Early Childhood Studies at the University of Melbourne’s Graduate School of Education. Her research examines how theory and practice can challenge the operation of equity in the early childhood classroom and she has worked with children, parents and teachers to build safe and respectful communities. Kylie has also worked in early childhood services for over 25 years where she has explored children’s participatory rights in curriculum and policy.

Associate Professor Linda Hobbs

Associate Head of School, Research, Deakin University

Linda Hobbs is a dedicated STEM education researcher. Her extensive research on out-of-field teaching, supported by various grants, highlights the complexities of this issue and strives to reshape teacher perspectives. Linda’s leadership spans across multiple projects, notably the Girls as Leaders in STEM (GALS), which is a project-based learning program for Year 5-8 girls to work closely with women in STEM and STEM leadership to develop and improve their STEM capabilities.

Associate Professor Merryn McKinnon

Centre for the Public Awareness of Science, Australian National University

Merryn McKinnon‘s research contributes to a better understanding of the relationship between science, media and publics, exploring why publics react and respond to scientific issues the way they do. She is actively building a research program exploring the influence of equity, inclusion and intersectionality in STEM, especially STEM communication. She currently serves as Associate Dean (Education) in the College of Science.

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This event is a Deakin University and a University of Melbourne joint event.

Date: 24 November 2023
Venue: Deakin Downtown, Level 12, Tower 2 Collins Square, 727 Collins Street, Docklands