Indian-Australian professor and former Interim Director of the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI), Prof. Asha Rao has been inducted into the 2021 Victorian Honour Roll of Women in the Trailblazer category.
She is passionate about mathematics and gender issues that stymie the progress of women and girls in STEM careers.
As the founding chair of Women in Maths, Prof. Rao has put in place several initiatives to improve gender equity within the mathematical sciences in Australia.
The Victorian Honour Roll of Women celebrates the outstanding contributions made by women from all walks of life.
Inductees in the Victorian Honour Roll of Women are selected by an independent assessment panel consisting of community representatives.
A shortlist of candidates is sent to the Minister for Women for her consideration and selection.
The Victorian Government’s Minister for Women, Gabrielle Williams, said that the 2021 Victorian Honour Roll of Women inductees recognise women from all walks of life who have made outstanding contributions to the Victorian community.
It also acknowledges the many ways in which women have made a lasting impact on the state of Victoria.
“Each year, the Victorian Honour Roll of Women recognises women who have demonstrated remarkable leadership and excellence in their field of expertise, interest, endeavour, or through their commitment to the community.”
Since 2001, over 700 women have been recognised for their incredible efforts in Victoria, Australia and beyond.
Inductees to the Honour Roll are recognised for their achievements in a broad range of fields.
These fields include science, arts, environment, law, social justice, family violence prevention, research, health, media, and education.
“They each represent the courage and determination of women across Victoria using their unique skills, experiences and insights to forge a brighter path for all women.”
Prof. Rao is a mathematician by training and applying algebraic techniques to a wide variety of problems.
These problems range from designing better codes for communication to detecting money laundering and describing human interactions in the physical space.
Her research has led to closed and open meetings on cybersecurity as well as to observe the United Nations intergovernmental meetings on cybercrime.
As a cybersecurity expert, Prof. Rao appears regularly on audiovisual and print media and has won RMIT Media star awards.
She started her academic career as a casual tutor at RMIT in 1992, rising through the ranks to become a professor. Prof. Rao is currently the Associate Dean of Mathematical Sciences at RMIT University.