Academy commits to supporting gender equity in higher education during and after COVID‑19

June 23, 2020
The joint statement signed by the Academy declares sector commitment to immediate and ongoing gender equity actions. Photo by Dr Sarah Ch’ng and Nicholas Lim

The Australian Academy of Science has reaffirmed its commitment to gender equity in STEM by signing the ‘Preserving gender equity as a higher education priority during and after COVID-19’ joint statement.

The statement was published recently by the Higher Education Senior Equity Practitioners Advisory Group on Gender and COVID-19.

The Academy joins a growing number of universities and other sector partners, including Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) and the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE), in signing the statement.

The statement acknowledges the gendered impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, including increases in caring responsibilities and family violence and reductions in workforce participation. It declares sector commitment to immediate and ongoing gender equity actions.

The statement echoes the findings of a report in May by the Rapid Research Information Forum which found hard-won gains for women’s advancement in the STEM workforce were at risk of a major setback due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Without concerted efforts to manage and mitigate the uneven impacts on women, progress towards achieving greater participation of women and girls in STEM as recommended in the Women in STEM Decadal Plan will be jeopardised.

The Academy notes all tertiary institutions and higher education sector partners are invited to sign the statement.

At this crucial time, the Academy also calls on all STEM organisations and leaders to affirm their commitment to the vision of the Women in STEM Decadal Plan and gender equity in STEM by becoming Women in STEM Decadal Plan champions.

For further information and to sign the joint statement, contact:

  • Michelle Falconer, Senior Manager, Office of Equity and Diversity, Western Sydney University
  • Dr Kieryn McKay, SAGE Project Coordinator, Western Sydney University.

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