Liz Cowling is the 2019 Natasha Linnard Scholarship recipient, which is a scholarship awarded to a student who demonstrates excellence in mentoring female engineering students. Fifty50 caught up with Liz to discuss International Women’s Day and the importance of role models.
Who are you?
I’m Liz and I’m in my final year of engineering, majoring in electronics and communication systems.
What’s your relationship with Fifty50?
I have been involved with Fifty50 since my first year at the ANU. Last year I was co-executive director and now I am a mentor to Fifty50’s current executive team.
What does IWD mean to you?
IWD is important to me because it shines a light on all the great work that people and organisations like Fifty50 are doing to change culture and achieve gender equity. It is so exciting to have a day where we acknowledge all the leaps and bounds that have been made for female identifying people around the world. It is also such an important day to learn from people’s experiences, and to be inspired by people who are still working to achieve equity today.
Why do you think role models are important?
Role models are important because, as Marian Wright Edelman said, “if you can’t see it, you can’t be it”. On top of that, role models are important because they inspire us to be out best selves and to achieve more.
Why is it important that groups like Fifty50 exist in 2019?
It is important to have groups like Fifty50 to address cultural change and challenge the status quo. While it is great to have outreach programs in schools to get students to come to university and it has been fantastic to see what leaps and bounds have happened in that space. However, without having organisations like Fifty50, you do not have an equitable and inclusive culture for students to come into and flourish once they make it to university.