On September 16th, 2015 the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) Pilot of the Athena SWAN program was launched at Parliament House in Canberra. The SAGE pilot will involve thirty-two universities, medical research institutes and publicly funded research agencies. Commencing in September 2015, the pilot requires participants to collect, analyse and present data on gender equity policies and practices in STEM departments, as well as identify gaps and opportunities for improvement. Participants will work towards an Athena SWAN Award at the Institutional Bronze level, which is a mandatory requirement for future Silver and Gold awards at the institutional and departmental levels. The initiative is hosted by the Academy of Science, with a steering committee comprised of senior STEM academics, government science advisors and gender equity experts. The steering committee is co-Chaired by Professor Nalini Joshi, FAA (University of Sydney) and ANU's incoming Vice Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt AC FAA FRS.
These organisations commit to the 10 principles of the Athena SWAN charter:
- We acknowledge that academia cannot reach its full potential unless it can benefit from the talents of all.
- We commit to advancing gender equality in academia, in particular addressing the loss of women across the career pipeline and the absence of women from senior academic, professional and support roles.
- We commit to addressing unequal gender representation across academic disciplines and professional and support functions. In this we recognise disciplinary differences including:
- the particularly high loss rate of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)
- We commit to tackling the gender pay gap.
- We commit to removing the obstacles faced by women, in particular, at major points of career development and progression including the transition from PhD into a sustainable academic career.
- We commit to addressing the negative consequences of using short-term contracts for the retention and progression of staff in academia, particularly women.
- We commit to tackling the discriminatory treatment often experienced by transgender people.
- We acknowledge that advancing gender equality demands commitment and action from all levels of the organisation and in particular active leadership from those in senior roles.
- We commit to making and mainstreaming sustainable structural and cultural changes to advance gender equality, recognising that initiatives and actions that support individuals alone will not sufficiently advance equality.
- All individuals have identities shaped by several different factors. We commit to considering the intersection of gender and other factors wherever possible.
You can find out more about the initiative on the Australian Academy of Science website. Women in Science Australia has also provided a comprehensive article on the launch of the initiative written by Dr Marguerite Evans-Galea, available here.