WiT's Bec Langdon gets behind schoolgirl's statue campaign


Women on Boards member Bec Langdon has praised the efforts of a Queensland schoolgirl who has successfully campaigned to get a bronze statue of pioneering Australian astrobiologist and geologist Dr Abigail Allwood built in Brisbane.


Ten-year-old Malia Knox crowdfunded $20,000 towards the statue of Dr Allwood - the first woman, and Australian, to be a principal investigator on a Mars mission - which will be installed by Women in Technology (WiT) outside Brisbane Planetarium. 

WOB member and WiT Board member and President, Bec Langdon said WiT is now thrilled to be working with Malia to bring her vision to life thanks to an extra $35,000 funding boost from the Queensland Government.

“For 25 years, Women in Technology has been a connected community to advance, connect and empower women in all areas of STEM,” Ms Langdon said. 

“Creating highly visible statues of incredible women role models displays the endless possibilities for future generations. With passionate youth like Malia, the future is bright." 

Malia was inspired to campaign for more female statues in the city after visiting Sherwood Arboretum two years ago and noticing all the plaques at the central promenade were for men.

(Clockwise from left) Malia Knox; an artist's impression of how the Abigail Allwood statue will look; Women in Technology President Bec Langdon.

After further research Malia could only find three statues of women in Brisbane, which sparked her idea to start her project #femalefaces4publicplaces and a Parliamentary Petition which attracted almost 800 signatures.

Last April Malia wrote to Dr Allwood - who works at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory focusing on the detection of life on other planets - to ask if she would like a statue at the Planetarium. After receiving a glowing response, Malia has been working to make this statue a reality.

"I feel really sad that in every park and playground I go to I am only seeing pictures, plaques and statues of men,” Malia said.

“When I am only seeing men, I start to feel like men are more important than women. I know this isn't true but this is what I'm seeing everyday so it’s hard not to believe it.

“Young girls like me need to be SEEING strong female models when they are playing in the park so that they can learn about them and be inspired by them.

“As part of my project, I compiled a list of inspiring women that I want to see honoured in our public places.

“And I’m so excited that other young girls like me will be able to come to the Planetarium and learn about the story of Abigail Allwood.”

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