Dear subscribers and friends of SAGE,
Thank you for your warm welcome as I settle into my role. It has been wonderful getting to know members of the SAGE community, and I look forward to meeting many more of you soon.
Education and research institutions are key in shaping Australia’s future. This is why our sector also needs to lead the way and embed sustainable gender equity, diversity and inclusion (GEDI) practices that will drive systemic change.
More diversity in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) across all levels, including leadership, is also crucial. STEM fields are regarded as key drivers for future innovation, yet STEM has one of the largest gender gaps. Women comprise 27% of the STEM research workforce, where they earn 18% less than men – that amounts to an annual difference of $27,000.
We must have strategic and systemic approaches to GEDI. Together, we can ensure that universities and research institutes are safe places to work and learn allowing all Australians to thrive. Parental leave policies, bias in recruitment practices and opportunities for women to enter leadership positions are just three areas that require attention.
Looking back on the first quarter at SAGE:
We made a submission to the ACT Government on the third installment of their Women’s Plan, highlighting that gender-responsive procurement can be a lever to change.
On March 3, I spoke at an International Women’s Day lunch in Canberra hosted by UN Women Australia – emphasising the importance of HR practices for diversity and inclusion.
I was also interviewed for the Australian Government’s Diversity in STEM Review, in which I stressed the need for collaboration and systemic approaches to organisational change like SAGE.
Let’s take GEDI to the next level in 2023. We must break the silos and focus on collaboration, both within and amongst organisations. Organisations must have a common agenda, mutually beneficial agreements, robust data tools and continued communication.
We are working with our UK partner Advance HE to provide subscribers with access to products, including leadership programs. We will establish forums to promote two-way learning with our international counterparts.
SAGE is reviewing the processes around the Athena Swan program, including the Cygnet Awards. This is key to reducing administrative burden so everyone can focus on their actions.
Lastly, we’d love to hear about your 2023 GEDI plans, and learn how we can support you in achieving your goals.
Dr Janin Bredehoeft