Addressing gender imbalance in senior science roles

Brian Schmidt and Nalini Joshi, co-chairs of the SAGE Forum Steering Committee

The Academy is leading an Australian initiative that aims to correct the gender imbalance within senior level positions in science.

The Academy’s Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) Forum Steering Committee held a roundtable discussion in Canberra on 30 July to explore ways to improve gender equity in senior science roles. The committee is co-chaired by Academy Fellows Nobel Laureate Professor Brian Schmidt AC FAA FRS and Professor Nalini Joshi FAA.

Representatives of the Australian Research Council, the National Health and Medical Research Council, CSIRO and the Defence Science and Technology Organisation, as well as university groups and government departments with a strong science component, met to discuss the latest statistics relating to gender and appointments within universities, noting the lack of progress that has been made over the past 20 years.
The UK Athena SWAN Charter was noted as one approach that is gaining widespread traction within the UK and is leading to substantial efforts to deliver real improvements in gender equity. The charter requires institutions to collect and analyse data on the progression of women, look into the reasons why women are under-represented and to act on the issues identified.

Later this year the SAGE Forum will hold a two-day workshop in Canberra where participants will hear from representatives of the UK Athena SWAN Charter about their experience and explore an appropriate strategy for Australia.

More information on the SAGE Forum

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