Dr Siouxsie Wiles was named the supreme winner at the 2020 Women of Influence Awards as well as the Innovation, Science & Health Category. Professor Jane Kelsey won in the Global category.
Judges noted that Dr Wiles’ “accessible and evidence-led commentary about staying safe during the pandemic helped ease the nation’s anxiety and became the basis for World Health Organisation communications tools”. They also commented on her courage in the face of criticism, and her decade of dedication to making science more accessible to everyday New Zealanders.
In her acceptance speech Siouxie Wiles thanked her family and reminded the audience to “keep scanning that app”.
Stuff chief executive Sinead Boucher said the judges were impressed not just by the leadership Dr Wiles had shown this year, but her strong advocacy for other women in science.
“What I admire about Siouxsie, as well as her undoubted expertise in her field, is how she has persevered through all sorts of personal attacks and trolling to ensure the incredibly important facts of the Covid-19 pandemic, and what we need to do, are communicated clearly and articulately,” Ms Boucher said.
“In a year when dangerous conspiracies and false information about Covid-19 were rife, where people had high levels of anxiety and fear, Siouxsie has rightly become one of our most trusted and respected voices.
“She has had an incredible influence on how we have all understood and responded to one of the greatest challenges of our era.”