The University of South Australia has joined a pilot program being launched today to improve the promotion and retention of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
The Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) pilot – a partnership between the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) – is the first Australian trial of the successful UK Athena Swan gender equity accreditation program.
UniSA is one of 32 organisations selected to participate in the SAGE pilot Australia-wide. The program rates the gender equity policies and practices of participating organisations with a gold, silver or bronze award and helps them to develop ways to promote and retain women and gender minorities in their organisations.
Deputy Vice Chancellor: Research and Innovation, Professor Tanya Monro, is attending today’s launch in Canberra and says the University is delighted to be involved in the SAGE pilot.
“UniSA is committed to working towards the achievement of the Athena SWAN Charter’s aims, including the advancement of gender equity in academia, addressing unequal gender representation across academic disciplines, and removing the obstacles faced by women at major points of career development and progression,” Prof Monro says.
“Reaching gender parity in science leadership in Australia is really important. It’s about keeping our brightest minds in the fields in which they have the most potential to deliver.
“Women make up more than half of science PhD graduates and early career researchers, but just 17 per cent of senior academics in institutions across the country. The loss of female scientists is a significant waste of expertise and talent and negatively impacts our nation’s scientific productivity.
“UniSA is proud of our existing gender equity policies and activities such as women-specific research scholarships and professional development programs, but being part of SAGE is an opportunity to go that extra mile and be a recognised as a real leader in Australia.
The Athena SWAN Charter began a decade ago with just 10 universities but has grown today to include nearly every STEM education and research institution in the UK. Australia is the first nation to pilot the program outside of the UK and Ireland.
UniSA will start the SAGE pilot in September 2016.
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