Women @ WRL

Women @ WRL

Women @ WRL is a diverse collaborative team comprised of academics, young researchers, project engineers and professional women working at the Water Research Laboratory of UNSW Sydney. The team meets monthly to discuss trending topics, share personal and professional goals and create a comfortable mentorship environment. As part of the group integration, each team member has shared her background, personal and professional achievements.

Women @ WRL was established in February 2018 with 7 members. Successfully moving through the years, the meetings have evolved to include TEDx talks, LinkedIn learning courses, guest speakers and WRL social and environmental initiatives. Women @ WRL has increased in numbers with 17 members to date (May 2020).

During the last year, Women @ WRL meeting topics have included strategies to minimise procrastination, women’s health care in developing countries, body language for women and the ‘likeability conundrum’ and tips for working remotely and our personal experiences. Based on these talk discussions, we have also created a supporting network and buddy system where we can mentor one another’s weaknesses and strengths.

As part of the Women @ WRL initiative, UNSW’s Associate Dean for Equity and Diversity for the faculty of Engineering, Associate Professor Lucy Marshall gave a lunch time seminar at WRL on Women’s issues today regarding leadership and equality within UNSW and the Athena SWAN program. Women @ WRL also received a visit from Health and Safety Advisor Laarni Caluducan from the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering to discuss health and wellbeing at WRL from a woman’s perspective. Based on these visits, Women @ WRL have implemented various changes to our workplace to make our work environment more comfortable for female visitors on site. WRL outreach librarian Caroline Reagan was also invited by Women @ WRL to provide up-to-date UNSW library services for all of the WRL community.

Women @ WRL promotes environmental and social goals at WRL. Grace Carlino and Kristina Palmer led the participation and sustainability initiative of WRL in the university-wide Green Impact Challenge of 2019; where WRL won a silver award. Women @ WRL promotes UNICEF fundraiser campaigns at WRL, has planted a herb garden for the benefit of all WRL staff and donated to “Ladies of the Land” who were affected by the drought and fires in Australia 2019. Women @ WRL hosted a multicultural morning tea as part of the end year celebrations in 2019; and in 2020, Women @ WRL led the promotion of the International Women’s Day and organised an IWD morning tea for all of WRL.


Our mission is to create an intimate space where women can gather to network and share resources, as well as empower women’s actions at WRL by the discussion of world challenges affecting success and alternatives to overcome them. 

With topics such as professional growth to work-life balance, we can inspire each other to revive old goals, make new ones and move towards them. Moreover, our outcomes will not be limited to women; we aim to bring new opportunities to all of the WRL community from a woman’s perspective.