Advancing the Future: Gender Equity in STEM Workshop







Check out the photo gallery!

Workshop exploring gender equity in STEM, held in National Science Week 2023

Society and the planet need as many enthusiastic, talented people as possible tackling challenges and solving problems with science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

Currently, STEM is less diverse and inclusive than it should be. Imagine what could happen if science achieved gender equity?

“The workshop had a brilliant panel of speakers and it was an opportunity for all participants to reflect on what is working and what was not. The facilitators were engaging and the event was well-organised. I highly recommend this workshop to those who wants to understand the state of gender equity in STEM so they can learn how to impact their sphere of influence.”


Workshop participant

This workshop explored what’s working and who’s leading

Participants shared their wisdom and ideas to advance the future of STEM. Insights captured at this workshop will soon be published and feed into the Australian Government’s Diversity in STEM Review.


What we did

  • Heard from leaders about where things are at in 2023.
  • Shared and capture the actions being taken (particularly by organisations in the ACT) to address gender diversity in STEM.
  • Heard the stories of individuals so that we can all be informed by lived experience and consider what role we can take to champion gender equity.
  • Generated ideas through collaborative, peer group brainstorming about how to address the pressing needs for both individuals and organisations.

Check out the photo gallery

Thank you to our incredible speakers

  • Anna-Maria Arabia, Chief Executive of The Australian Academy of Science.
  • Dr Merryn McKinnon, Associate Professor at Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science (ANU).
  • Alana Lundy, Executive Branch Manager Digital, Data and Technology Solutions.
  • Hala Batainah, Principal Coach at Humanosity (and Chair of CBRIN).
  • Mat Franklin, Managing Director at MF & Associates.
  • Dr Susan McGinty, Director at Aya Leadership.
  • Dr. Chloe Lim, Science Storyteller at Twisty Science.


This workshop was supported by YWCA Canberra and Canberra Innovation Network and was a National Science Week event. It was delivered by Claire Harris from Innovate Communicate. Co-facilitated with Belinda Newham from Decision Revolution.

Anna-Maria Arabia

Anna-Maria Arabia

Chief Executive, Australian Academy of Science

Anna-Maria has over 20 years’ experience in the science sector and is currently leading the Australian Academy of Science, an independent not for profit organisation that provides authoritative and influential scientific advice, represents Australia on key international scientific bodies, builds public awareness and understanding of science, and champions and supports excellence in Australian science.

In this role Anna-Maria has led significant reform in global science engagement, in science policy matters, and in improving diversity and inclusion in science.

Starting her career as a neuroscientist, Anna-Maria undertook medical research in Australia and abroad, before applying her skills to policy development both in the Australian public service and in politics where she has provided policy advice across many social and economic portfolios.

She has held several senior executive positions in the science sector as CEO of Science and Technology Australia and Deputy Director at Questacon – the National Science and Technology Centre. In these roles, Anna-Maria has worked extensively with parliamentarians, the business and community sectors, and the media.

She is a strategic advocate for science, social justice, and diversity and inclusion.

Alana Lundy

Alana Lundy

Executive Branch Manager, Digital, Data and Technology Solutions, ACT Government

Alana is a career Public Servant with nearly 30 years’ service across both the Commonwealth and ACT governments. Having joined as a trainee, Alana has literally worked her way from the ground up through to senior and executive management positions. As a people focussed leader, she is a specialist in driving teams to achieve key deliverables through respect, mentoring, support, development and motivation. In her current portfolio within the Chief Minister Treasury and Economic Development Directorate (CMTEDD), Alana brings together diverse ICT teams within Shared Services, to support Directorates and the ACT Government’s operational management and multiple new ICT initiatives.

Alana has spent the majority of her career in male-dominated departments where she has forged her leadership and management style around honesty and integrity. Frequently regarded as the “go to” person in whichever section she supports, Alana works at a fast pace with high energy to empower her staff to be part of their achievements. Having completed the YWCA She Leads Diploma of Leadership and Management in 2017, Alana compliments her extensive on-the-job experience with formal qualifications.

In her spare time, Alana is an avid sportswoman competing in hockey and softball at a representative level. She is a working mum of two busy teenagers and two young adults, who volunteers in her community whenever she can.

Dr Merryn McKinnon

Dr Merryn McKinnon

Associate Professor, Australian National University

Dr Merryn McKinnon’s original degree was in marine science where, after the novelty of moving intertidal snails with a paint scraper wore off, she discovered that talking about her research to other people brought her far closer to her conservation goals than her actual project ever could.

This led her to the field of science communication where she has stayed ever since, working in a range of roles and countries. Merryn enjoys the diverse issues science communication allows her to explore, applying her innovative thinking and problem solving skills.

Merryn has worked and conducted qualitative and quantitative research nationally and internationally, in both non-academic and academic roles. She regularly contributes to ABC Radio on ABC Sydney’s Nightlife and Radio National’s Research Filter, talking about interesting science from around the world. Merryn designs and delivers science communication workshops, as well as workshops specifically for women in STEM.

Hala Batainah

Hala Batainah

Principal Coach, Humanosity

Hala Batainah (BA-TIE-NAH) has held senior executive roles in the Information Technology industry and is the Chair of the Canberra Innovation Network, an organisation creating impact for Canberra by accelerating start-ups, innovation and entrepreneurship.

In 2018, Hala launched her coaching and consulting businesses to focus on her passion for people, leadership and innovation and her commitment to making an impact for a better tomorrow. She is the lead Principal Coach at Humanosity, a coaching practice focused on supporting leaders and teams who want to be human-centred in their personal and professional leadership. She was named WICked Woman of the Year (twice) by the Women in Information and Communication (WIC) for contributing to the IT industry and mentoring women in IT. Hala is originally from Jordan and loves calling Canberra home.

Dr Susan McGinty

Dr Susan McGinty

Director, Aya Leadership

Dr Susan McGinty is a global STEM leadership development expert, speaker and author. An award-winning scientist and highly regarded leader and leadership coach, with 25 years’ experience in STEM, Defence and National Security, Susan is inspired to transform the profile of leadership for women in STEM- and security-related organisations across the world.

Susan has a PhD in Medicinal & Organic Chemistry and a Master of Leadership. Following over ten years in research, Susan spent 14 years (12 of those in leadership positions) in Defence and National Security leading a range of specialised scientific and technical teams, managing key international Defence and national security partnerships and advising on key Defence domestic and international strategic, operational and scientific policies.

Inspired by the challenges of her own leadership journey, Susan is passionate about increasing gender diversity in STEM and security leadership. As the Founder and Director of Aya Leadership, she works with women in these professions globally to master their leadership purpose, skills and experience through education, resources and coaching. She also works with organisations to develop strategies and deliver training to ensure they have the leaders they need now and into the future. Susan understands the challenges women in STEM and security-related professions can experience on their leadership journey, and delivers practical, actionable strategies that make a real difference.

Mat Franklin

Mat Franklin

Managing Director, MF & Associates

Mat is passionate about creating a safe, inclusive and kind organisation that allows people to bring their full selves to work. We are ~65% women in cyber, ~30% LGBTIA+ and ~30% people with a disability. MF & Associates work with clients across management, technology and cyber security consulting. MF & Associates aim to be Canberra’s most trusted, ethical consulting firm, doing good work for our clients and doing right by our people.

Mat has held senior executive roles in defence, government, minerals, consulting and telecommunications and sits on not for profit, government and corporate boards. He has led two small businesses, rolls his eyes at start-up buzzwords, enjoys walking his Pomeranian named Darth, and is an alumnus of Harvard Business School.

Dr Chloe Lim

Dr Chloe Lim

Science Storyteller, Twisty Science

Dr Chloe Lim is an executive in the Australian Public Service. She has a PhD in medical science and worked in academia for over 14 years. She was a medical researcher focusing on epigenetics in the immune system. She was also involved in a biotech start-up before transitioning into government as a regulatory scientist.

Chloe is a career coach for women in STEM. She is an advisor, coach and mentor for non-profit organisations like STEM Sisters, GoTara and SiTara’s Story. She shares her migrant story in the anthology book ‘Undefeated’, to inspire other women to show up, take space, and embrace who they are.

She is also a balloon artist and entrepreneur, launching ‘Giggly Wiggly Balloons’ in 2019. Her talent in balloon artistry propelled her to become a finalist on Channel 7’s ‘Blow Up,’ featuring the best balloon artists in Australia.

Chloe is passionate about STEM engagement from an early age and published a children’s book, ‘What Makes You Unique’, demystifying DNA. She merges her passion for science and balloon twisting to create fun and engaging science storytelling shows. This is why she founded Twisty Science, a science edutainment company, to instil a love of science in children with fun, engaging, and educational shows and workshops.

Female Medical doctor looking at the camera. Research woman Scientist in a Biological Applied Science Research Laboratory. Lab Engineers in White Coats Conduct Experiments at Background.

Why does gender equity in STEM matter?

  • Diversity is crucial for innovation.
  • Companies with gender-diverse boards perform better.
  • STEM, along with other fields, should represent our community.


Important numbers

Employment opportunities in STEM occupations in Australia are expected to grow by 12.9% by 2025, with the current pipeline in Australia unable to support this demand. Women remain underrepresented, making up only 16% of people with STEM qualifications. (Reference: Diversity in STEM Review Terms of Reference)

Read more research and key figures on our blog post: Women in STEM Australia: 23 eye-opening things to know.

*Gender equity recognises that women and gender-diverse people are not in the same ‘starting position’ as men. This is because of historical, cultural and social disadvantages.

Brought to you by…

Innovate Communicate


This event is supported by YWCA Canberra and Canberra Innovation Network, under the Great YDeas Grant program.


Acknowledgement and photography

We acknowledge and pay our respects to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and acknowledge that this event is being held on Ngunnawal land.

Note that you may be photographed or filmed at this event. Please advise the host if you don’t want to be included in imagery.

Image of the Canberra Innovation Network logo
Image of YWCA Canberra logo
National Science Week banner image 2023
Subscribe for updates

Subscribe for updates

Want to be inspired? We do. Sign up to the Innovate Communicate Update to receive snippets about our projects, 'science with heart' stories, and events and highlights you don't want to miss.

Tick. Subscription done.

Share This