More women are studying science at university than men. But they’re not staying in science. We’re losing them mid-career.
We, as a nation, are not successfully supporting their transition into independent researchers and science leaders. The loss of these highly trained smart women is economically and culturally damaging to Australia.
In response, the Australian National Commission for UNESCO, the Australian National Committee for UN Women and the Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies held the Women in Science and Engineering Summit (WiSE) in April 2011.
WiSE Summit at Parliament House in Canberra on 11 April 2011
The loss of these highly trained, smart women means we are not tapping into our full national innovation potential.
The Summit brings together science and industry leaders, advocates, and high-achieving young women in science and engineering in a high profile event to:
- highlight the issues
- encourage science and engineering leaders to take practical steps to secure a higher return on their investment in young women scientists and engineers
- explore other opportunities to improve gender equality in science and engineering.
Women in Science in Australia: Maximising Productivity, Diversity and Innovation
Written by Sharon Bell in 2009, Science & Technology Australia has since been working with the science sector to improve the participation of women in science. The 2009 report showed the progress of women in senior positions had stalled over the past 15 years despite encouraging improvements in participation at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. There is a renewed focus on women in science in terms of productivity, innovation and social equity.
WiSE Summit communique: commitments to action
CSIRO, Australia’s largest employer of researchers on Monday 11 April committed to remove barriers to the promotion of highly skilled women and to increase incentives to encourage women to return to the workforce after maternity leave.
These were two of many commitments made by research funders, leaders and employers who today came together for the first time at the Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) Summit in Parliament House, Canberra.
Importantly, the nation’s leading research funders, the Australian Research Council and the National Health and Medical Council, agreed to changes in how they assess research publications in the grant application of those with interrupted careers. The ARC committed to extending the period taken into account. The NHMRC this year will consider any nominated five years of an applicant’s career rather than the previous five years, and it has also agreed to monitor gender issues in general.
WiSE 2011 Summit Presentation
Missed the event or want to find out the outcomes for the day? Download this presentation for a summary of attendees, sponsors, commitments and actions.