By UOW Malaysia KDU
Recently UOW Malaysia KDU expressed their support on gender equality by collaborating with UOW Australia’s Women Research Engineer’s Network (WREN) to expand the network to Southeast Nations, including Malaysia.
The Women Research Engineer’s Network (WREN) founded in April 2021 by Dr Marcella Bernardo Papini, Dr Mainã Portella Garcia, Ms Grace Kennedy, Dr Emily Yap and Dr Ashley Ansari, from the University of Wollongong’s (UOW) Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences (EIS) with the financial support from the Council on Australia-Latin America Relations as a bilateral collaboration between Australia and Brazil.
An early career researcher from the School of Engineering, UOW Malaysia KDU have joined in the WREN network aimed at boosting women’s participation in engineering.Ts. Dr. Nishata Royan is aware that women are still the small minority in any engineering faculty. She is also keen to address the gender gap and facilitate collaboration between female engineers.
WREN aims to narrow the gender gap in STEM and engineering research careers. In just a year, WREN has grown to a network of over 250 researchers, has hosted five online events, built an online collaboration portal, submitted five grant applications and seeded co-teaching collaboration.
Recently, WREN was awarded a grant from Australia-ASEAN Council where they will expand to Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam through a webinar and podcast series. The first WREN event scheduled for this year will happen on August 23rd at 4 pm (Australia).
The grant from The Australia-ASEAN Council was awarded to projects that address the needs of Southeast Asian countries following the COVID-19 pandemic, with a particular focus on women’s empowerment in the region.
The grant will enable WREN to increase knowledge of research techniques and technologies, and international research funding opportunities; increase participation in WREN’s online space across the region, leading to joint research projects, publications and the submission of grant proposals; build collaborative teaching opportunities between women academics in engineering disciplines; report on the similarities and differences of the challenges women academics experience in Australia and Southeast Asia; build strategies to ensure the retention and progression of women in engineering throughout their careers; and lastly to create mentorship opportunities by connecting academics with undergraduate and postgraduate students across borders.
Ts. Dr. Nishata Royan said that one barrier contributing to the under-representation of women in academia is the lack of international opportunities, which most affects early-career researchers. The network collaboration provides a greater diversification opportunity with other global partners in the ASEAN region.
“This Australian-ASEAN Council grant will not only be a great opportunity and a good platform to build our collaboration partners between early-career women research engineers in the loop, but it will provide a global network experience with access to world class research facilities that aim to solve global challenges and create inventions that will make our lives better in the future,” Dr Nisha said.
WREN aligns with UOWs commitment to UN Sustainability Development Goal 5 – to achieve gender equality and empower all girls and women.
“At UOW Malaysia KDU, we are committed to providing a diverse and inclusive workplace and are proud of our culture that provides equal opportunity regardless of gender. We have adopted policies that support gender equality and have developed workplace flexibility arrangements that support all genders and promote a healthy work-life balance. Gender equality will continue to be a priority and we are always making changes to strengthen this commitment. We understand that teamwork requires that we think about how we relate to one another, respect one another, recognize the value of each person’s contribution, are fair and inclusive, and that we work collaboratively to achieve the best results on all days and in all ways”, added Professor Dr. Hon Wei Min, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) of UOW Malaysia KDU.
The other ASEAN partners joining hand for this grant are Dr Pathathai Na Lumpoon and Ms Supara Grudpan from Chiang Mai University, Thailand; Associate Professor Vita Wonoputri from Institut Teknologi Bandung, Indonesia; Associate Professor Yunita Idris and Ms Juliana Fisaini from Syiah Kuala University, Indonesia; Dr Soan T. M. from Duong Le Quy Don Technical University, Vietnam.
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