Gender Equity in Science Forum

Learn more about my day job with Science in Australia Gender Equity, which is working to improve gender outcomes for all women, as well as improving workplace culture for all. We also have a special focus on increasing the participation and inclusion of transgender people and Indigenous Australians, and other underrepresented groups.

The SAGE Forum Workshop Summary Report provides an overview of the discussions that took place at the SAGE Forum in November 2014. The report demonstrates broad consensus that the Athena SWAN Charter provides an excellent vehicle by which Australia could quickly make major strides to address gender equity issues within the science sector. Below are the key highlights of the Report:

  • The SAGE Forum found widespread agreement among STEM institutions that cultural change is needed to better enable scientists, regardless of their gender, to thrive in our research community. The Forum identified that improving women’s participation in STEM will help maintain the talent and highest standards for science in Australia.
  • While the gender balance at the PhD and post-doctoral stages of science careers is now even across most scientific disciplines, the proportion of woman in scientific careers is still declining with level of appointment. Less than one in five professorial positions in science are occupied by women.
  • The workshop brought together senior representatives of universities, medical research institutes, science funding agencies, government research organisations, other stakeholders and the Equality Challenge Unit which runs the Athena SWAN Charter in the UK (see section 3).
  • There was widespread support for the Academy to establish a forum called “Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE)” to create a catalyst for change across the sector.
  • This report summarises the key issues raised by participants at the SAGE Forum Workshop, and includes the recommendations made by the workshop to adopt an approach similar to the Athena SWAN Charter in Australia.
  • The workshop agreed that the potentially significant impact arising from the implementation of the Athena SWAN approach may need adaptation to the Australian context.