Fifty50 is an ANU society promoting gender equality in the field of CECS. What sets the group apart is its inclusive nature, addressing gender inequality by steering away from gender specific events. Co-President Francesca Maclean, indicated the importance of not alienating men but rather including and utilising them as agents of change in the field.
Due to the high attrition rate of women out of fields such as Engineering, Fifty50 runs mentoring programs such as fortnightly study sessions for first years. Maclean indicated that following a passion can become hard for individuals when they are feeling isolated in tutorials. Maclean stressed that gender inequality is not just a female problem but rather something that affects all.
She stated that women needed to be encouraged to enter currently male dominated fields, such as CECS and STEM, from the top down. Fifty50 hopes to engage in active outreach, partnering with larger companies in the field. Maclean cited that such companies have gender quota for not only their workforce but also their graduate programs.
Maclean believes bridging the gender gap starts with the partners of these companies, giving more women opportunities to excel in these fields, working towards more female leadership at the top.
The organisation is currently partnered in the ‘Innovation Challenge’, engaging students in collaborative action and drawing industry speakers to speak of their experiences in the field.
Fifty50 is developing into what Maclean calls a “case of best practice amongst Australian universities… engaging the majority to make a difference”