About us

We are an organisation whose primary engagement platform is through social media – this includes LinkedIn and Twitter with a diverse and inclusive network of over 40,000 STEMM professionals in academia, industry, education, business and government.

This includes all women in STEMM (and those who enable STEMM) regardless of their discipline and profession.

We raise the profile of women in STEMM, provide role models by increasing the visibility of women in STEMM, expand their professional network, and advocate on their behalf at various levels.

We currently have a growing subscriber base of more than 1200. You may subscribe here.


Over the past 10 years, we have influenced national policy as an authority in women in STEMM. We have provided input into multiple policy submissions and had our Board members as key representatives at the tables including the Women in STEM Decadal Plan.

We were formally recognised as a supporter at Science and Gender Equality Australia (SAGE) pilot launch in 2015.

Our recent work includes contributions to key consultations on Australia’s National Science and Research Priorities, Women in STEM Evaluation, and the Snow Medical Foundation Report.

Our current partners include Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) Elevate, Science and Technology Australia (STA), Women in AI Awards, and Mothers in Science.

A brief history

Founded in 2014 by Dr Marguerite Evans-Galea and Michelle Gallaher, Women in STEMM Australia is a non-profit organisation that has grown into a nationally recognised association for women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM).

We were one of the first national independent organisations to be formed to shine a light and advocate for women’s equity and diversity challenges in the STEMM sector.

Besides holding the first National Symposium on this topic in 2016, we have engaged with a wide range of organisations including:

We have delivered Women in STEMM-focussed presentations at several institutes and universities as well as participating on panels and presenting at public and academic conferences. Importantly we have also engaged with the National Science Teachers Association and the Australian Alliance for Girls Schools.

Reflecting on 10 years

Social media, shared values and the love of good coffee ultimately brought Women in STEMM Australia co-founders, Dr Marguerite Evans-Galea AM and Michelle Gallaher, together. Celebrating 10 years since the inception of Women in STEMM Australia, Maggie and Michelle reflected on how they met and what inspired them to create a not-for-profit volunteer led advocacy group, one of the first of its kind at the time, calling for more women in leadership in Australia’s science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medical industries.

“I had been following and retweeting Maggie (Marguerite) for at least a year before we met in person, so when we finally met it was like catching up with an old friend,’ said Michelle. “Social media demonstrated and reinforced that we clearly shared the same values and passion as vocal advocates for diversity and gender equality in our respective STEMM sectors.”

“The very first time I met Michelle was in 2013 when I was chair of the EMCR Forum with the Australian Academy of Science. We were hosting our second national Science Pathways meeting “Engaging with Industry”, and Michelle was a guest speaker. We landed in a focus group together and immediately gravitated toward each other. Early the following year I saw Michelle tweet she was stepping down as BioMelbourne Network CEO to become an entrepreneur. I reached out since I thought she may be open to discussing an idea …”.

Celebrating 10 Years

Maggie and Michelle met at Seven Seeds in Carlton for coffee. At the end of this highly animated conversation, a firm handshake and warm smiles marked the beginning of Women in STEMM Australia, then known as Women in Science Australia.

The BioMelbourne Network’s Women in Biotech Lunch, established by Michelle as CEO of the Network, was held each year in May and it is now in its 17th year as the “Connecting Women Luncheon”. It was at this lunch that Michelle shared the news of this exciting new partnership.

What had begun on Twitter in 2013, became an organisation in June 2014. Women in STEMM Australia introduced an online blog to amplify the voices of STEMM women and allies, raise profiles, share stories of meandering career pathways, opinion and promote opportunities for women across the sector. The organic growth of the connections and network led to women championing women across sectors.

“As a woman in science passionate about a research career and strongly committed to energising Australian science and innovation, I wanted to contribute to making that happen”, said Maggie.

“While I could find several discipline-specific women in science groups that held occasional networking events and workshops, I was keen to actively debate and improve practices and policies that enable women in science to succeed. I wanted to create enduring professional contacts, tap into a diverse array of mentors, cross-fertilise ideas and exchange skills with women leaders in different sectors. It became clear there was a need for a united voice for women in science – particularly at a national level.”

Before they knew it, there were hundreds and then tens of thousands of followers on social media, with reach across Australia, across STEMM disciplines and then linking up into similar STEMM networks globally.

Maggie and Michelle’s pathways into STEMM had been quite different – industry (Michelle) versus academia (Maggie). The pair immediately recognised the opportunity this presented. Valuing their individual journeys, they leveraged their unique experiences and networks, to increase their understanding of the challenges women faced in each sector; ultimately extending the reach and impact of Women in STEMM Australia.

While gender equity was the foundation of Women in STEMM Australia, the board recognised the importance of diversity and inclusion from the very start. Maggie emphasises, “Gender may be the focus, but it is not at the exclusion of other identities, nor is it about ignoring the need for diversity, inclusion and belonging more broadly.”

Women in STEMM Australia has evolved into a highly respected voice within the STEMM landscape, and it has often been called on to represent the sector – at policy roundtables, summits, symposia, conferences, expert advisory groups and state and federal government consultations – and the co-founders, Maggie and Michelle, as well as the volunteer board members, embraced these opportunities with gusto.

Women in STEMM Australia also hosted symposia and events, including Australia’s first national women in STEM symposia in 2016. The team consulted their network and wrote submissions to government consultations, represented the sector in national and international media, contributed as speakers, MC’s, panellists and advocates at APEC and OECD meetings in Australia and abroad, facilitated countless one-to-one introductions, and provided mentoring and sponsorship.

Maggie and Michelle were also called upon to tackle some challenging moments at times, having difficult conversations, addressing occasionally unpopular or controversial issues when no one else in the sector was able to speak publicly. ‘We very rarely disagreed, but we were always able to have respectful and uncomfortable conversations amongst ourselves or with others”, said Michelle. “It is that mutual trust, respect, shared values and care for each other that has enabled our partnership to endure over so many years”.

Both Maggie and Michelle are proud of the organisation’s achievements to date and since stepping down from the board, the have been delighted to pass the leadership baton on to the current co-chairs, Professor Madhu Bhaskaran FTSE and Sarah Chapman FRACI – both founding board directors of Women in STEMM Australia.

Now Ambassadors for Women in STEMM Australia, Michelle and Maggie continue to champion the cause for gender equity, diversity, inclusion and allyship, and apply an intersectional lens to all of the work they do.

“Once you see it, you cannot unsee it”, says Maggie. “We can all be an ally for someone, be it in the workplace or outside of work. We must strive to do better by educating ourselves, leading with empathy, constantly listening and learning; but most importantly by taking action.”