IMAGE: Associate Professor Heidi Drummer, Chair of Burnet’s Gender Equity Committee
Burnet Institute is stepping up its commitment to gender equity in science through its participation in the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) Pilot of Athena SWAN in Australia.
SAGE is a program of activities designed to improve gender equity and diversity in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM).
Athena SWAN is a highly regarded UK program providing an evaluation and accreditation framework for gender equity issues in STEMM.
The program rates the gender equity policies and practices of participating organisations and helps them to develop ways to promote and retain women and gender minorities in their organisations.
“Senior positions in science are overwhelmingly occupied by men, despite the fact that women comprise more than half of science PhD graduates and early career researchers,” Associate Professor Heidi Drummer, Chair of Burnet’s Gender Equity Committee, said.
“Not only is this inequitable and unfair, it’s a waste of expertise, talent and investment, and this impacts Australia’s scientific performance and productivity.
“Gender equity is one of the pillars of Burnet’s wider mission, so it’s right and fair to advocate for equal opportunity for our own benefit and to support the sector to address a longstanding problem.
“I’m confident the SAGE program will help us to achieve this.”
The Athena SWAN charter began a decade ago with just 10 universities but has grown today to include as a member nearly every STEMM education and research institution in the UK.
The SAGE Pilot has adapted the UK processes for the Australian context, running training workshops on gender equity, and providing gender equity accreditation for participating universities, medical research centres and Government research organisations.
The SAGE Pilot of Athena SWAN was launched in September 2015 with 32 inaugural Australian Charter members, including 25 universities, five medical research institutes and two government science organisations.
Burnet has been admitted to Cohort 2 along with Federation University Australia, James Cook University, Defence Science and Technology Organisation, Bond University, Macquarie University, University of the Sunshine Coast, and the Australian Astronomical Observatory, bringing total participation in Australia to 40 research and academic institutions.