SAGE workshops spark collaboration for gender equity

7 April 2020

The SAGE network and SAGE regional networks presented several workshops at the Catalysing Gender Equity Conference 2020, focusing on challenging and persistent issues related to inclusion and diversity in STEMM. An overview of the workshops is presented below and the workshop facilitators welcome your feedback at sage@science.org.au.

SAGE Network: Exploring Departmental Awards for SAGE

SAGE Executive Director, Dr Wafa El-Adhami, speaking at the SAGE workshop

SAGE Executive Director, Dr Wafa El-Adhami, speaking at the SAGE workshop.

The SAGE community has been highly engaged in the Athena SWAN Bronze accreditation program (institutional awards stream), with 45 institutions receiving accreditation so far.

As SAGE members will be aware, SAGE convened a workshop to explore awards pathways at CGE2020. This workshop consolidated key suggestions to determine the SAGE approach to awards pathways. The key outcomes and the next steps forward are included in the summary report.

SAGE WA Regional Network: ‘Shifting the spectrum of male engagement with gender equity– has the pendulum swung too far?

Presenters at the SAGE WA Regional Network workshop.

Presenters at the SAGE WA Regional Network workshop.

The SAGE WA Regional Network developed this workshop to increase the engagement of a minority of men (and women) resistant or less engaged with gender equity initiatives.

Group discussion focussed on specific scenarios (vignettes) that came from the direct experience of the regional network members, such as responses to affirmative recruitment action and women only events. The session provided eye-opening new perspectives and will serve as a resource to assist people responding to similar situations. As one participant commented, “the gender equity journey is not just a women’s journey—everybody needs to be onboard.”

Group discussions at the SAGE WA Regional Network workshop.

Group discussions at the SAGE WA Regional Network workshop.

The presentations and group discussions are currently being refined by the WA Regional Network to develop a set of rehearsal narratives for staff resources, which will be published via the SAGE website. The WA Regional Network is happy to take further submissions for the proposed resource, such as suggestions for other scenarios. A summary of this workshop and the next steps forward can be viewed in the summary report.

SAGE NSW Regional Network: ‘Achieving gender equity targets through systemic change’

Implementation of equity strategies was the focus of SAGE NSW Regional Network’s workshop. The experience-driven, collaborative discussion identified key strategies for facilitating the effective implementation of gender equity targets in STEMM, focusing on the relationship between central goals and local actions.

This workshop built upon findings from the ‘Strategies for Success’ Symposium held at UTS in July 2019. Collaborators from the NSW Regional Network, including Western Sydney University and Macquarie University, also shared their practical experiences, which include increases in female applicants in STEMM by using gender neutral language in recruitment. They also discussed challenges such as setting targets for intersectionality/diversity KPIs and the complexity involved in taking an university-wide approach across different sectors.

Discussion groups focused on ‘Connecting the global and local’, discussing the merit principle; recruitment changes, retention, promotion and succession planning; monitoring and evaluation; and building capacity for cultural change. Workshop attendees identified opportunities for future collaboration across networks and between higher education institutions and industry. Attendees also identified the need for more self-reporting and data-sharing. A summary of this workshop and the next steps forward can be viewed in the summary report.

gender equity targets tweet

SAGE ACT Regional Network: ‘Walking in the shoes of others: Seeing and overcoming the complexities of intersectionality’

The Intersectionality Walk at the SAGE ACT Regional Network workshop.

The Intersectionality Walk at the SAGE ACT Regional Network workshop.

The SAGE ACT Regional Network addressed the important issue of intersectionality in this workshop.

The workshop provided participants with the opportunity to actively contribute to understanding and educating others on why intersectionality is important for innovative organisations. Attendees took part in ‘An Intersectionality Walk’: scenarios where they took on different personas to step into the shoes of others. One attendee commented on the power of the “whole body experience of the role play”, while another said that the activity provided “a visual shock of what exclusion or leaving people behind looks like”.

This was followed by a plenary discussion which provided cross-institutional opportunities for collaborative research recommendations. Participants discussed the need for data-driven actions, compounded by the challenge of gathering data on diversity in a secure manner. As a result of the workshop, 29 organisations signed on to be involved in the research led by Professor Thomas and Dr MacMillan and all participants requested Intersectionality Walk resources for implementation in their own organisations, which are available on the SAGE resources page. A summary of this workshop and the next steps forward can be viewed in the summary report.