A 2016 report found that women occupy fewer than one fifth of senior researcher positions in Australian universities and research institutes, and make up only around a quarter of the STEM workforce overall.
The government responded by pledging $13 million to encourage more girls and women to engage with STEM and science-related careers as part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda.
Dr Parrott says that she has been «extremely lucky» to work in teams with many female leaders, including chief executive Jenny Gray at Zoos Victoria.
«But I know in a number of scientific and field organisations, there are far fewer women who don’t get promoted to those higher research roles.»
She says having «Doctor» before her name has helped her to be respected and listened to in the industry.
«Sometimes women aren’t listened to unless they have that title,» she says.
A career in conservation
Dr Parrott completed a PHD at the University of Melbourne researching the mating preferences of threatened female species to better improve breeding practices for conservation.
«In breeding, we pair animals based on their pedigree of what we think is best for their population.
«But how cool is doing that but also asking the females what they want?»
But how cool is doing that but also asking the females what they want?
Dr Marissa Parrott
The job has taken her has taken her to over sixty countries, from Orangutan rehabilitation in Borneo to monitoring lions in Kenya.
But she says her real passion is preventing the extinction of Australian marsupials including the Tasmanian Devil, Pygmie Possum and the New Holland Mouse.
One moment that has stuck with her is the day her team released 67 of nearly-extinct Eastern Barred Bandicoots on Phillip Island. The group of conservationists had been on the road since four in the morning collecting healthy animals to take to their new home.
«At dusk, we opened the boxes and released the bandicoots to their new island home. Some of them started to forage and look for worms and beetles straight away.
«It was a beautiful experience and those populations have done really well.»
Her job is split between field work, like releasing the bandicoots, and time in the lab as well as the office.
«A lot of work I do is on computers, looking at population modelling and genetics for our endangered species.»
And this November, she will be leading the third instalment of Homeward Bound, a leadership initiative for women interested in global sustainability set against the backdrop of Antarctica.
«It’s a cohort of 95 women from 33 countries who are going to be learning about leadership and how to influence policy around climate change.
«It’s always been a dream of mine to go to Antarctica, it’s something I’m really looking forward to.»
Charlotte is a reporter for The Age.