For more information and interviews please contact:

Dr (Victoria) Helen Woolner
Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Chemical Genetics
Victoria University of Wellington
Tel +64 4 463 6090 E: helen.woolner@vuw.ac.nz
Mobile Tel 027 328 4078

Dr Jan Pearson
Convenor, 2020 Zonta Science Award
Tel 027 4517 359 E: jan.pearson@xtra.co.nz

BACKGROUND NOTES
Working Together to Advance the Status of Women.

The Zonta Club of Wellington is responsible for managing the Zonta Science Award.

Meeting every month in Wellington City members enjoy a business meeting, dinner and a presentation by a guest speaker.

The Club is linked to Zonta International, a worldwide service organisation of business and professional women. Zonta has some 1,200 clubs and 29,000 members operating in 63 countries worldwide. The Wellington Club has over 50 members and is one of 27 such clubs in New Zealand.

Women in Science

Women are under-represented in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM fields) not just in New Zealand but worldwide. The reasons for this gender gap are many including attitudes and influences from home, school, workplace and society.

Woman who have achieved a PhD have already demonstrated a commitment to science but in the first few years after gaining a PhD there is often a period where support it needed while establishing a career path.

Aims of the Zonta Science Award

Zonta aims to increase the diversity in career choice for women and does this through a celebration of women in science.
The Zonta Science Award is for an “emerging scientist” who will benefit from the recognition and support the award provides. An opportunity to travel and meet other scientists in their chosen field is therefore an important component of the Award.

The Biennial Award

The Award has been in place since 1990 and to date there have been sixteen recipients. The Award comprises:

  • A cash grant
  • Air travel
  • A commemorative medal
  • A certificate of achievement

A winning quality is to be able to communicate science and to support and serve as a role model for younger women and girls considering science as a career.

Although given to one person, the benefits to the wider community are far-reaching. Winners have all demonstrated a passion for their science and a willingness to share their knowledge not only with their peers but also with students and the general public. Zonta believes that increasing an understanding of science will help change attitudes towards science for the benefit of society.