The Women in Technology (WiT) awards are annual awards in Australia that recognises exceptional work in STEM or Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. However, this year, a man has been nominated for one of the categories of the award. A digital leader from Australia named Simon Button has been nominated for the Inspiring Diversity in STEM category award, a new category introduced by WiT this year. While so far the WiT awards were being given only to women, this is the first time that a male has been nominated.
“This is the first time WiT has offered an award that is open to all genders and it reflects how our community attitudes are changing. We welcome the inclusion of our first male finalist and look forward to seeing more male leaders who support women being nominated in the future,” wrote WiT in a Facebook post.
According to WiT, the Inspiring Diversity in STEM category is one of the 14 WiT award categories. It has been added to highlight the industry leaders who contributed to achieving gender diversity, inclusion, and equity in the workplace.
Except for Simon Button, all the other three nominees for the new award category are females. The women finalists include researcher and Professor Amy Mullens, associate professor Kym Rae, a research fellow in indigenous health, and Dr Jyoti Sharma, a pharmaceutical researcher.
Since the nomination of a male candidate for a women’s award was announced, it has grabbed the attention of many on the internet. Highlighting this, WiT, in the Facebook post, wrote that they “welcome the robust and lively conversation that our first male nomination has generated.”
The WiT awards are geared toward recognizing the outstanding work of women and their contribution to the STEM discipline. This year, 500 candidates were nominated by independent judges for the WiT awards. Of this, 40 finalists were shortlisted across all categories after a judging process.