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06 December 2018

Media release

Institute recognised with prestigious Science in Australia Gender Equity award

The Baker Institute was last night recognised with a prestigious Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) Athena SWAN Bronze award. The Bronze level is the first SAGE award to be made available in Australia, It recognises the Institute’s commitment and actions to champion change around gender equity and diversity.

Several members of the Institute’s Gender Equity and Diversity Committee — Dr Anna Calkin, Professor Dianna Magliano and Dr Andrew Carey — accepted the award at a ceremony at Parliament House. The attendance of this team attests to the collaborative effort to achieve this award.

Institute Director, Professor Tom Marwick said the Institute was delighted to receive this recognition, saying it was testament to the Institute’s efforts to boost the number of female scientists at the Institute, particularly at a senior level, and to embrace and celebrate diversity.

“Whilst gender equity and diversity are issues facing Australia’s scientific sector at large, we acknowledge that organisations such as ours need to step up and champion change to collectively have an impact,” Professor Marwick said.

“The accreditation process was a challenging one that forced us to think critically about these issues within our organisation; to look at what the data said; to ask our staff how we could make changes and to challenge ourselves to deliver on that,” he said.

Professor Marwick said during the past few years the Institute has introduced a range of initiatives that we’re very proud of. These include the Alice Baker and Eleanor Shaw Gender Equity Fellowship, the expansion of Women in Science Support Grants, and more generous primary caregiver leave in our EBA.

This year, we also hosted our inaugural NAIDOC week event, a coaching program for women, resilient parent workshops and a Women in Science Symposia. Professor Marwick said these events aim to encourage greater awareness and new thinking about these issues.

“We’ve started the journey of putting in place critical and sustainable actions that engender equality and embrace diversity within our workplace. Whilst there’s more to be done it is heartening that our efforts to date have been recognised through a robust process of analysis and peer review,” Professor Marwick said.

Professor Marwick and Head of the Gender Equity and Diversity Committee, Dr Anna Calkin paid tribute to the Committee and the broader staff base, saying change was happening, staff are becoming increasingly engaged in these issues and the momentum to do more is growing.

Gender equity and diversity have been a big focus for the Institute. In 2015, the Institute became one of 40 research organisations nationally to join the SAGE pilot — an initiative of the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering.

SAGE is the first Australian trial of the UK Athena SWAN gender equity accreditation program, which has had considerable success in addressing gender inequity, initially in the higher education sector, in the UK.

Australian Academy of Science President, Professor John Shine AC FAA said Australia was playing global leadership role in this area. “Australia has taken a leadership role by piloting the Athena SWAN Charter program, with countries such as Canada and the United States now following our example. With the Australian Government’s continued support this will continue to position Australia well and allow the successful pilot to expand into a full national program.”

While Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering President, Professor Hugh Bradlow FTSE paid tribute to organisations such as ours which are paving the way for others. “As part of Australia’s first Athena SWAN cohort, these organisations have shown true leadership. Collectively, they have taken on the Athena SWAN Charter which makes them accountable for improving gender equity, and diversity and inclusion within their workplaces. They are true pioneers in this space and ultimately they are leading the way for all Australian workplaces and employers to follow in their footsteps.”


For further information or to organise interviews please contact:

Tracey Ellis
T: 
03 8532 1514
M: 0433 781 972
E:  tracey.ellis@baker.edu.au

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