MEDIA RELEASE: SAGE welcomes Government commitment to program evaluation in gender equity in STEM

Sunday, 8 March 2020

The Federal Government’s Women in STEM Action Plan and the STEM Equity Monitor launched today are pivotal enablers to drive the systemic transformation of gender equity and diversity in STEM, according to Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE).

SAGE Executive Director, Dr Wafa El-Adhami, said the Government continues to play a significant leadership role as supporter, enabler and participant in advancing gender equity and diversity.

“We welcome the Government’s plan of action for delivering the vision of Australia’s 10-year plan for Women in STEM and also an annual national data report on girls’ and women’s participation in science,” Dr Wafa El-Adhami said.

“SAGE is one of a few national gender equity and diversity programs that has been through formal evaluation and is currently the only transformative gender equity program of its kind in Australia designed to achieve sustained cultural change via a national accreditation framework.

“The SAGE formative evaluation report ‘Putting Gender on your agenda’, identified that national tracking and impact assessment are fundamental to driving the transformation of gender equity and diversity.

“The report also highlighted that this would require defining measures of success and nationally coordinated measurement tools.

“The development of national evaluation guidelines announced in the Government’s action plan today is an important resource for the sector; we welcome the opportunity to contribute to its design and supporting its implementation,” Dr Wafa El-Adhami said.

SAGE also acknowledges the Government reaffirming in the action plan its funding support for the SAGE program until 2021–22, as announced in last year’s Federal Budget.

“We look forward to working with the Government and the sector to ensure all eligible organisations can participate and succeed in the program,” Dr Wafa El-Adhami said.

“On this International Women’s Day we celebrate the collective achievements and commitment by our SAGE members to advancing gender equity and diversity in Australia’s higher education and research.”

The action plan notes that the Government will maintain strong representation in the SAGE program through the participation of eligible publicly funded research agencies.

Five out of approximately 12 publicly funded science research agencies (representing 40% of these agencies), have signed up to the SAGE pilot.

Last month 11 institutions received Athena SWAN Institutional Bronze Awards in recognition of their efforts to critically assess gender equity and diversity in their own institution and devise actions to address any systemic or cultural barriers they identify.

Forty-five Australian higher education and research institutions have completed the SAGE pathway to accreditation, with the majority (86 per cent) being awarded the Athena Swan Institutional Bronze Award.

Established in 2015, the SAGE initiative was established to pilot the UK’s Athena SWAN Charter in Australia. It is a partnership between the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering.

 

Media contact: Dan Wheelahan – 0488 766 010 – media@science.org.au