New Resource: Equity and Diversity for Events

Diversity encompasses issues of equity, inclusion, accessibility and intersectionality (the interconnection between gender and racial inequality alongisde other social disadvantages). I’ve created a resource to ensure academic and science events support diversity. Below is a brief version.

Continue reading New Resource: Equity and Diversity for Events

Tech Inclusion

Tech Inclusion

I’ll be speaking on a panel at the first Tech Inclusion conference in Australia, in Melbourne, on 13 February 2018. Tech Inclusion is aimed at various practitioners from the tech industry to discuss issues of diversity. This includes: executives, hiring managers, human resources, data scientists, educators, entrepreneurs, investors, policymakers and diversity and inclusion advocates.

I’ll be on the panel hosted by Cory-Ann Joseph, UX Lead at ANZ, and fellow panellist and UX designer Danya Azzopardi. The panel is called: We’ve got a time machine, now what are we going to do with it?

From the event website:

Growing up in Australia came with a sense that we were lagging behind our bigger, ‘cooler’ brother of the USA – movies, pop music, concert tours all took weeks or months to get to us – if at all. But Silicon Valley doesn’t always lead the way. Mistakes were made in the ‘early’ days of diversity and inclusion: centering men at Women in Tech events, a focus on women first instead of race, and the victim-blamey rhetoric of women needing to change their behaviour. And perhaps the biggest mistake of all is that despite a decade since the first D&I efforts – not much has changed.

How can the tech industry in Australia avoid the same and chart a different course for the future?

Date: 13 February, doors open 8.30 am.

Book on the event website below.

#sociology #socialscience #inclusion #equity #diversity #inclusion #technology #stem #woc #melbourne #event #australia #techinclusion #womeninstem #womeninscience

The Value of Research Careers Beyond Academia

The Value of Research Careers Beyond Academia

This is the second of a two-part interview with me on Mendeley. The following is an excerpt on the positives of working as a research consultant on equity and diversity workplace issues, and the benefits of research to other industries.

Positive aspects of working in research outside academia

The positives are that I get a lot of satisfaction from seeing my impact on organisations. I generally work for small businesses and nonprofits: it makes a world of difference to them to explain research, which can be quite dense, and turn it into practical outcomes for them. I see my work adopted quickly, rather than have a publication go through the peer review process.

There’s also an intellectual reward in finding new ways of communicating research skills; I enjoy engaging with clients. One of the big surprises has been not just positive interactions with clients but also with their audiences: there’s a lot of pluses that come out of interacting with new groups who really need that scientific input presented in a digestible way.

Stigma and benefits of working outside academia

A lot of researchers feel that a non-academic role is a consolation prize, hence, there’s a lot of stigma around considering a non-academic role. There are sociologists who I look up to, who have known me since I was student, who still ask when I’ll come back to academia. The underlying assumption behind their query is that such a return is the only way in which I can be truly recognised.

Yet everyone knows how hard it is to get a tenure track role, but we maintain this illusion that this is the only way we can have a fulfilling job. I advise researchers to look beyond the stigma: once you step off the academic track, there’s a world of opportunities. I’ve done work with government, I’ve led a research team investigating environmental health and safety, I’ve worked with nonprofits. I come to my career with the knowledge that there is a lot of fluidity in what I can do. I may do a lot of consulting for a while, and then go back into working for a traditional research organisation.

Researchers should know: our skills are highly valued outside academia, we need to learn how to market them. We should find a way to show to clients and employers how those research skills can be useful. If you can master that, potential employers and clients will give you amazing opportunities. For example, I once went to a job interview for a role as a researcher, and based solely on the questions I asked, the employers in question offered me a management role on the spot.

A non-academic career role is nothing to be ashamed of; it is a source of pride that strengthens research impact on society, as it brings knowledge to new sectors. There are many, many organisations which are in dire need of scientific skills and expertise; in the process, you can achieve great progress for a variety of communities.

Read more of this interview on Mendeley Careers:

Learn more

Part 1 of this interview is about my work as a consultant on equity and diversity, and how organisations can embrace more inclusive practices:


Commenting policy

Before commenting on this post, please read the article.

I moderate comments to maintain a safe space first and foremost for women of colour of various backgrounds, and also to support the voices of other minority groups who are marginalised. I welcome comments but please note that I do not allow abuse. People commenting should discuss sociology; be polite; stay on topic; and be aware of their own bias. My commenting policy is in my About section of G+ and also here:

Please note I often lock my posts overnight or close off comments after a few days when I’m unable to moderate. This keeps my threads free from abuse.

#sociology #socialscience #equity #woc #socialpolicy #medeley #science #womeninscience #womeninstem #diversity #academia #inclusion #sciencecareers #sociologycareers

Interview: Sociology at Work

Interview: Sociology at Work

I was interviewed by Mendeley about my work in equity and diversity in research environments. Below is an excerpt.

My focus is on gender equity and diversity. I have worked with many different organisations as a consultant and project manager; I’ve instructed them on how to review, enhance, and evaluate effectiveness of different policies. I’ve also provided consultancy on how to provide training at different levels so organisations can better understand their obligations and responsibilities.

My work includes enhancing workplace culture, particularly, the everyday cultural dynamics that impact on working life. For example, by offering more flexibility for workers, and looking at where there may be gaps or opportunities to enhance existing procedures. I also study how everyday interactions can enhance productivity. In other words, I don’t just look at how organisations can meet their legislative requirements, which are merely the minimum standard. I also work with teams to see how they interact and how organisations can create policies to suit their unique workplace needs.

In the course of my career, I have worked with a number of research organisations, mainly here in Australia, such as the Academy of Science. I helped them implement their gender and diversity programme. I have also worked with several other national and state research programmes, looking at how they can meet the challenges of intersectionality issues; that is, how they can better understand how gender equity and racism intersect along with other diversity needs, including those associated with class, sexuality, and disability.

I’m sad to say that the research community is far behind other sectors: bullying is much higher in academic and research contexts. Although there ought to be a better understanding of diversity, minorities report they are targeted via a variety of forms, including microaggressions – everyday comments and “jokes” that exclude or demean differences. Furthermore, compared to industry and government, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual (LGBTQIA) people in the research sector are more likely to remain “in the closet.” Studies indicate people working in universities feel less safe in disclosing their sexual identity to their managers, and they feel more susceptible to harassment and homophobia. This is particularly prevalent in Australia and English speaking countries including the UK and USA.

Read more on Mendeley:


Commenting policy

Before commenting on this post, please read the article.

I moderate comments to maintain a safe space first and foremost for women of colour of various backgrounds, and also to support the voices of other minority groups who are marginalised. I welcome comments but please note that I do not allow abuse. People commenting should discuss sociology; be polite; stay on topic; and be aware of their own bias. My commenting policy is in my About section of G+ and also here:

Please note I often lock my posts overnight or close off comments after a few days when I’m unable to moderate. This keeps my threads free from abuse.

#sociology #socialscience #socialjustice #equity #woc #socialpolicy #medeley #science #womeninscience #womeninstem #diversity #academia #inclusion

Making the Most of Diversity Lessons from March for Science Australia

My latest on Women’s Policy Action Tank discusses the various delays in addressing equity and diversity at the March for Science Australia. At the national level only around half a dozen of the promoted speakers were representative of Australia’s multiculturalism. I also discuss the gaps in the national agenda for the march, and its local goals for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Stronger integration of equity and diversity in leadership would improve outcomes in future science events. Below is an excerpt of my article.

Continue reading Making the Most of Diversity Lessons from March for Science Australia

Using Data to Improve Gender Equity in STEMM

Using Data to Improve Gender Equity in STEMM

I’ll be co-hosting this Hangout on how institutions can use data and analysis to improve gender equity policies and practices in STEMM organisations.

Join us this Thursday 5.30PM AEST!

#genderequity   #womeninstem   #womeinscience  

Originally shared by Science in Australia Gender Equity

Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) is running a Pilot of Athena SWAN in Australia. Athena SWAN is an evaluation and accreditation program that has had tremendous success enhancing gender equity and diversity in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, especially focusing on science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM).

Thirty-two Australian institutions have signed up to the SAGE Pilot of Athena SWAN, including 25 universities, five medical research agencies and two government organisations. Athena SWAN seeks to improve the education and career outcomes of all women and to boost the recognition of underrepresented groups (such as transgender scientists, Indigenous Australian researchers and other minority groups). 

SAGE will interview Professor Hazel Hall, Athena SWAN Self-Assessment Team Leader for Edinburgh Napier University. We’ll discuss how the university selected its team to support their application for an Athena SWAN application for a Bronze Institutional Award. This Award recognises that an institution has started substantial work to eliminate gender bias and that it is working to create an inclusive culture for all. Professor Hall will speak about how her team overcame the challenges of collecting and analysing gender equity and diversity issues for their institution. Professor Hall will also discuss how they created actions to address areas of inequity and how consultations with staff and students helped this process.

Date: Thursday 5th May

Time: 5.30-6 PM AEST (8:30-9 AM UK), followed by online Q&A from 6-6.15 PM AEST.

Be sure to post your questions for Professor Hall below!

Award application:

You can download a copy of Edinburgh Napier Unviersity’s Bronze Institutional Award application at the SAGE website:

Guest Bio:

Professor Hazel Hall is Director of the Centre for Social Informatics in the Institute for Informatics and Digital Innovation within the School of Computing at Edinburgh Napier University. Her main research expertise and teaching interests lie in information sharing in online environments within the context of knowledge management. She is Edinburgh Napier University’s Academic Champion for Athena SWAN, and led the University’s Athena SWAN bronze award bid in 2014, which resulted a successful outcome (at first attempt) announced in April 2015.

For those unable to watch live, the video will be available to watch after the event on our YouTube channel: 

#stemwomen   #womenintech   #womeninstem  

The Future of Science: Women

The Future of Science: Women

Today I attended an event on how women are the future of science, co-hosted by the Australian Academy of Science at the National Press Club of Australia. It was a truly excellent discussion and historic: the Press Club hosts hundreds of talks every year – but only a minority of women have been invited as speakers. Even more sobering is the fact that women make up less than one percent of the scientists who’ve been invited to address this national media forum. Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research and Innovation) of the University of South Australia Professor Tanya Monro talked about how difficult her early career was because she took time to have children and she had to “bootstrap” funding for her first research centre. She was the first woman professor ever hired in the Physics department at one of Australia’s oldest universities since the University of Adelaide was established in the 1880s. 

Professor Emma Johnston, Director of the Sydney Harbour Research Program, discussed how she “did everything wrong” in terms of her career: she chose to have children (unfortunately, the “motherhood penalty” creates barriers for women researchers); she invested a lot of time in her teaching and pastoral care of students (science careers punish this important but undervalued work); and she was reticent to put herself forward for promotions and grant funds – unsurprising since peer reviewers always took the time to tell her everything that was wrong with her grant applications: too many career gaps (spent looking after family). Professor Johnston had a focus on intersectionality throughout her talk, which was truly wonderful to hear.

Professor Nalini Joshi is the first woman professor of mathematics at the University of Sydney – Australia’s oldest and most prestigious education institution. She was only the third woman mathematician elected as a Fellow of the Academy of Science. She talked about how she chose to wear a white top to today’s televised panel because when she goes to the Academy events dressed in a black suit, with her name tag clearly displaying her name and professorial title, she is mistaken for a waitress by her peers. Professor Joshi talked about how the work we’re doing in Science in Australia Gender Equity will transform science careers, by actively requiring institutions to analyse data to identify gender equity and diversity issues. 

All three scientists discussed some practical solutions – most importantly, all three supported setting institutional targets to increase gender equity.

Watch the panel discussion on ABC Australia  :  

Image: National Press Club: #stemwomen   #womeninstem   #women   #australia   #science  

*Happy International Women’s Day!

*Happy International Women’s Day!

We’re already celebrating today in Australia. Google+ has featured my collection on women in science below. Also check out STEM Women on G+ for excellent posts on women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, as well as our video interviews with women scientists from different fields on YouTube

#stemwomen   #iwd2016   #womeninstem  

Originally shared by Google+

Who’s ready for International Women’s Day tomorrow?! We’re kicking things off early this year. ALL week, we’ll be celebrating the inspiring women of Google+ by sharing their Collections. Know a cool Google+ woman you’d like to see featured? Share her Collection(s) with the tag #InternationalWomensDay to let us know!

TODAY: check out this awesome Collection about Women in STEM by creator Zuleyka Zevallos:

How to stop the sexual harassment of women in science: reboot the system

How to stop the sexual harassment of women in science: reboot the system

My latest for The Conversation: There have been several high-profile cases of renowned scientists who have been found to have acted against sexual harassment legislation for up to 10 years. In one case, a prominent astronomer forced students to attend work meetings in strip clubs; in other cases, famous scientists physically groped students or tried to pressure them to reciprocate their sexual and romantic feelings.

For the most part, institutions simply give these men one-off training. One university suspended a serial harasser for one year – he is due to come back to work in July. Meanwhile, nine of his students have left due to his harassment, bullying and erratic behaviour over recent years.

In these cases, the universities involved carried out investigations finding that the professors were in violation of sexual harassment law. These men went from one high profile position to another whilst continuing their abuse of power. One professor was even granted an honorary Emeritus Professorship after the university’s investigation was made public.

The system is telling us that we’d rather lose bright, junior women scholars, in order to protect so-called academic “superstars.”

I also show that the issue of abuse is broader, with senior scientists attacking vulnerable students of minority backgrounds when they speak out against racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination.

It’s time to reboot the culture in science. In this article, I discuss strategies that everyone can use to end harassment, including:

* Speaking up when you see someone being harassed

* Leading by example

* Providing easier ways to report, such as through information escrows

* Ensuring anti-harassment policies are working, through confidential consultation and a thorough evaluation of impact

* Making safety a daily priority, especially for managers

* Strategic planning

* Taking a collective stance against harassment.

There are national and regional programs that aim to transform how universities and research organisations make gender equity and diversity a priority, including the program that I’m managing in Australia, Science in Australia Gender Equity. Half of the higher education sector is involved in making changes to eliminate discrimination, harassment and bias, and creating a more inclusive culture. Ending harassment is one important piece of the puzzle. 

Read more about the issue and solutions in my article.

Commenting Policy

Note that I do not allow abuse, personal attacks, or denialism of harassment. My article and my various other writing details the research showing that sexual harassment is a major problem, particularly for women researchers who feel unsafe at work, and fearful of reporting formally. If you want to contribute to a discussion on solutions in a respectful way, let’s have a conversation! If not, I will delete comments that violate my commenting policy.  

Individuals who want to question the definition or severity of harassment are not welcome, because the entire internet is filled with spaces where you can sprout such ignorance. My threads are not such a place. The law is clear: sexual harassment is defined as someone making an “unwelcome sexual advance, or an unwelcome request for sexual favours, to the person harassed.” Sexual harassment is also legally defined as person engaging “in other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature in relation to the person harassed,” including actions or words that lead to offence, humiliation or intimidation. 

My article:

Legal definition of sexual harassment, Sex Discrimination Act, Commonwealth of Australia:

Resources for individuals, managers and workplaces, by the Australian Human Rights Commission: 

Research on the impact of sexual harassment, by the International Labour Organization:

Impact on women who speak out about sexual harassment, by STEM Women on G+

Investigation on why women in science choose not to report sexual harassment (Part 1 of 3), by Dr Janet D. Stemwedel:

How professional science societies can end harassment, by Dr Erika Marín-Spiotta & colleagues for the American Geophysical Union (AGU):

#stemwomen   #womeninstem  

Academic Sexism

This is my latest post for STEM Women, which covers the recent Op-Ed in the New York Times claiming that there is no sexism in academia. There’s been a really great response from scientists speaking out against this article, particularly on social media. The issue is to really get the message out to the rest of the public that gender inequality in science is important and ongoing.

Continue reading Academic Sexism