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Elise Pitt Elise Pitt
16/09/2015

Women in science supported with new gender equity pilot 

UOW one of first unis in Australia to take part in a new program to help further the careers of women in the sciences. 

UOW is one of the first universities in Australia to participate in a new program to help further the careers of academic women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) pilot is based on the successful UK program Athena SWAN, an accreditation and improvement program that recognises commitment to advancing women’s careers in these traditionally male-dominated disciplines. 

As part of the program, UOW will agree to uphold ten principles of gender equity, including commitment to preventing the loss of women across the career pipeline, tackling the gender pay gap, addressing the negative consequences of short-term contracts and stamping out discrimination against transgender staff. 

UOW will also undertake a comprehensive two-year data collection and evaluation of its gender policies, programs and outcomes. 

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Professor Judy Raper said UOW had a proud history of gender equality, through a range of policies, strategies and initiatives, but was committed to do more. 

“We are very proud of our female academics, who are working on projects that are critical to Australia’s future, including finding cures for cancer and dementia, saving the Great Barrier Reef, campaigning for public policy change to curb childhood obesity and encouraging more women to take up careers in engineering,” Professor Raper, who is one of Australia’s most respected engineers, said. 

“However, we recognise that it can be a tough road to the top for many female academics. 

"UOW already has a range of policies in place to address these structural barriers, but is committed to improving our systems and coming up with new strategies to assist women in science.” 

The Promotion Prospects for Academic Women workshop forms one of the strategies to support academic women to progress their careers. This highly successful workshop provides informal mentoring opportunities for female academics – a chance to share information and insights with peers who have recently been through the process.  

Gender disparity in the natural and physical sciences at the higher academic levels  National figures show women comprise more than half of science PhD graduates and early career researchers, yet only 17 per cent of senior academics. 

Gender disparity in the natural and physical sciences at the higher academic levels (B to E). Source: Higher Education Research Data Collection 2012, Department of Education; Office of the Chief Scientist, Australia. 

UOW’s Linking Women Network has been providing mentoring, collaboration and resource sharing opportunities for more than 10 years and the Equity Fellowships program provides financial assistance to help women complete their PhD. 

Female staff members are offered up to 14 weeks of paid parental leave, a provision to take a total of 52 weeks leave altogether after the birth of their child and a return to work grant (an amount equivalent to 12 weeks salary). 

A variety of flexible work arrangements, including a period of time without teaching responsibilities, make it easier to fulfil carer’s responsibilities. 

Proudly contributing to UOW’s gender equality strategy, almost half iAccelerate’s current start-up business have female founders, compared to only 19 per cent in the sector. 

In addition, female leaders make up three out of five of the senior executive and UOW’s Chancellor, Jillian Broadbent, is a member of the Board of the Reserve Bank of Australia and Chair of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. 

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Professor Eeva Leinonen attended the official launch of SAGE in Canberra on 16 September. 

 

In celebration of International Women’s Day, we’re extremely proud to count some of the world’s best female scientists,...

Posted by UOW: University of Wollongong, Australia on Saturday, 7 March 2015

 

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