All-women emergency response team helping keep WA safe

by WA Government News | Feb 11, 2018
  • ChemCentre sets the pace for representation of women in STEM
  • Women make up 55.6 per cent of ChemCentre workforce
  • State STEM panel looking at increasing female participation in STEM-related fields 

For the first time at ChemCentre, one of its emergency response teams is made up entirely of women.

ChemCentre's emergency response service operates 24/7 to provide specialist scientific expertise in dealing with hazardous materials, especially chemical threats. Women now make up just under half the total number of 24 specialist scientists who provide this service.

The emergency response team plays a key role in State Disaster Management Plans, supporting the Department of Fire and Emergency Services, WA Police and other government agencies.

Science Minister Dave Kelly and Women's Interests Minister Simone McGurk met the scientists at ChemCentre ahead of International Day of Women and Girls in Science to see the women 'in action' in a demonstration of their expertise.

Established in the 1890s, ChemCentre is Australia's oldest NATA accredited scientific laboratory. It employed its first female scientist in the late 1920s.

Today, women make up 55.6 per cent of the ChemCentre workforce, which is well above the national figure of 28 per cent of the STEM-qualified Australian workforce and above the 47 per cent employed nationally in the natural and physical sciences area.

The McGowan Government is working towards its election commitment of developing a State STEM strategy that includes a focus on increasing female representation in STEM-related fields.

Also in this section