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Four more research institutions sign up to gender equity initiative

5 September 2017

Two Australian government science agencies and two universities are the latest to join a national program to improve gender equity in our research organisations.

I am delighted that two more research organisations within my portfolio— the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) and Geoscience Australia—were announced today as the newest members of the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) initiative, along with Murdoch University and the University of Adelaide.

The addition of AIMS and Geoscience Australia to the list of existing science agency members in the SAGE program demonstrates the Australian Government’s commitment to improving gender equity in research organisations and ensuring we attract more women scientists, innovators and entrepreneurs.

I’m encouraged that more than 40 Australian public research organisations, universities, and medical research institutes have signed on to SAGE since it began in 2015, with each participating organisation setting and working towards achieving its strategies and goals for gender equity and diversity, and having them accredited by SAGE.

Australia needs greater gender balance in the overall STEM workforce, where women occupy less than half of all positions.

Only one in four IT graduates and around one in eight engineering graduates are women, and women occupy fewer than 20 per cent of senior researcher positions in Australian universities and research institutes.

I’m confident that in time the SAGE initiative will lead to more female researchers in senior roles, and greater representation of women with STEM skills and capabilities in the broader workforce.

This is why the Australian Government has provided $2 million over four years to support SAGE, through the Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship element of the National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA).

The Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship initiative also contributes to the new Towards 2025 whole-of-government strategy to boost women’s workforce participation.

SAGE is run by the nation’s two leading science academies—the Australian Academy of Science and the Academy of Technology and Engineering. It is based on the UK’s Athena SWAN Charter, which has an independently verified track record of improving gender diversity, and bolstering women’s leadership roles in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine.

Media contact: Minister Sinodinos' office 02 6277 7070