Fiona Kate BarlowYour name and position?
Dr Fiona Kate Barlow, Senior Lecturer in the School of Psychology, ARC Future Fellow.

What have been your key career achievements?
There have been a lot of moments I have been proud of – in particular being able to do research and publish papers in areas I am passionate about. Being able to take my research in race-relations into the real world, consulting and featuring in the SBS documentary The Truth About Racism was a proud moment, as was winning a future fellowship to do research into how small interactions might shape our racial attitudes and behaviour. On a mentoring level, seeing my PhD students graduate and go on to succeed and make contributions across a range of disciplines and careers has been tremendously satisfying.

Have you faced any barriers as a woman?
Like all women in academia I have faced several barriers. These include being the target of sexist comments, being judged for what I wear and how I look, and perceiving lowered expectations on the basis of my gender. On the other hand, I have also experienced huge levels of support, mentoring, and collegiality.

What areas are you particularly passionate about that you would like to see change for women in the future?
I would love to see young girls growing up and feeling that they have agency and control, over their minds, their bodies, and their careers. I would love to see a world in which women are not valued (and do not primarily value themselves) on their appearance. I would like to see more women in positions of power and leadership – I firmly believe that we are suited to these roles, and that all will benefit with more leadership parity.

Can you suggest how young women, at any stage of their career or study, can overcome barriers and progress towards gender parity?
My suggestions are pretty simply – develop a strong network of friends and colleagues that you can call on for support, debriefing, and mentoring. Challenge your own fears and insecurities; do stuff that scares you! For me, initially, the thought of lecturing (let alone being on TV) was absolutely terrifying. I felt the fear, and did it anyway – and this approach has helped me.

Anything else you’d like to add?
Nevertheless, she persisted!

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