Gender bias in the workplace is a complex and fraught issue, which makes the work being done to actively eliminate it all the more important.
On Monday, 13 Australian institutions were awarded the Athena SWAN Institutional Bronze Award, part of a Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) initiative, which has a prominent and high-profile partnership with the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering.
The institutions that were awarded were made up mostly of universities including ANU, Deakin, La Trobe University and Sydney University.
The award recognises an institution’s commitment to advancing the careers of women, trans and gender diverse individuals in STEMM disciplines in Higher Education and Research.
The Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Karen Andrews said, “the government is committed to increasing the number of women in STEM, and our universities and institutions must be at the forefront when it comes to setting an example.”
Minister Andrews also stressed the importance of SAGE’s work as part of the government’s Women in STEM Strategy and Women in STEM Decadal Plan. “That’s why we included a further $1.8 million toward the SAGE initiative in the 2019-20 Budget,” she said in a statement.
By winning this award, these institutions have proved that it understands the current state of gender equity in its STEMM disciplines, and the institutional structures, systems, and culture which contribute to gender inequity in its STEMM disciplines. Additionally, they have demonstrated a four-year action plan that addresses gender inequity in its STEMM disciplines.
The criteria for measurement covers factors including leadership and commitment, honesty and self-reflection, communication and engagement and whether the institution has diligent and efficient SMART actions in place. (SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound).
Executive Director of SAGE, Dr Wafa El-Adhami, said “The Bronze Award recognises an institution’s work to set solid foundations for their journey to transformative change; it sets them on the course to Silver and Gold awards.”