Science in Australia Gender Equity interviewed David Ruebain, CEO of Equality Challenge Unit (ECU) in the United Kingdom (UK). ECU manages a range of equity and diversity initiatives in the UK, including the Athena SWAN Charter and the Race Equality Charter. Athena SWAN is a gender equity evaluation and accreditation program for higher education and research institutes.
David spoke with us about the importance of equity and diversity work and its growing prominence on the leadership agenda of universities, research institutes and businesses worldwide.
The first annual SAGE Symposium is fast approaching on 24 June at the Maritime Museum in Sydney. Science and technology experts, business and policy leaders will examine ways to enhance gender equity and create a more diverse and innovative STEMM sector in Australia.
The Symposium will feature prominent leaders in STEMM, gender equity and diversity. Former Sex Discrimination Commissioner and Males Champions of Change Founder Elizabeth Broderick will deliver the keynote address. Our plenary talks also include Ita Buttrose, Pioneer in Australian women’s journalism and 2013 Australian of the Year, and David Ruebain, Chief Executive of the Equality Challenge Unit, United Kingdom.
Other esteemed speakers include Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel, NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer Professor Mary O’Kane, and President of the Australian Academy of Science Professor Andrew Holmes.
Tickets are almost sold out for our Symposium, but limited tickets are still available for our Cocktail Party. This special event provides an exclusive opportunity for guests to socialise with keynote speakers along with Fellows of both Academies, who represent Australia’s greatest scientific minds and innovators. This networking event celebrates women in STEMM and national collaboration to enhance gender equity and diversity.
Professor Tanya Monro, Professor Emma Johnston and Professor Nalini Joshi spoke at the “Future Of Science – Women” event at the National Press Club on Wednesday 30 March. The event was co-hosted by the Australian Academy of Science. The panellists argued that the culture and institutional practices within the STEMM sector must be transformed if Australia is to meet the challenges of the innovation agenda.
Renowned ABC show Q&A put politics aside for a wonderful and well-received episode on science, with three women in STEMM taking centre stage: Professor Emma Johnston (marine ecologist and presenter of Coast Australia); Dr Tamara Davis (dark matter and energy cosmologist); and Upulie Divisekera (molecular biologist and co-founder of Real Science). They were joined by Dr Alan Finkel (Australia’s chief scientist and former President of ATSE) and Professor Brian Greene (world renowned physicist and string theorist).
One audience member asked the panel to comment on the dominance of men in science careers post-PhD and whether there is “something that females find abhorrent in the current scientific review process.” Divisekera notes that women make up around 50% of undergraduate students in STEMM, but the gender breakdown comes down to 17% at senior roles due to subtle biases experienced throughout scientific careers.
Professor Johnston similarly references that she is one among the 17% of women STEMM professors in Australia; a fact that has remained largely unchanged for over five decades, with some science areas being worse off in recent years. Professor Johnston discusses SAGE as one solution, specifically referencing the partnership between the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering in addressing structural and cultural problems in science institutions that affect gender equity and other forms of diversity.
What can stars and planets beyond our solar system teach us about gender equity? Does it matter how we tell our scientific stories? And who do we think of when we imagine effective science? In celebration of International Women’s Day, SAGE Project Officer Dr Rachel Morgain presented her research on gender in astronomy, physics and Doctor Who to the Policy and Projects Section at Australian Academy of Science, on behalf of SAGE.
Professor Jenny Martin is an NHMRC Research Fellow at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience at the University of Queensland, and served on the SAGE Steering Committee from 2014 to Dec 2015. She has stepped down from this role as she prepares to begin her role as Director of the Eskitis Drug Discovery Institute at Griffith University in Brisbane in March 2016.
SAGE extends our heartfelt thanks to Jenny for her contribution to the SAGE Steering Committee. Jenny is a true champion of gender equity. Read more