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Expanding opportunities for women in STEM

The Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) program’s Dr Saraid Billiards says SAGE is tapping into “a groundswell for significant movement on gender equity” in Australia’s education and research sector.

The SAGE program aims to improve gender equity and diversity in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine.

Forty Australian organisations have signed up to participate in the SAGE program, including 30 universities – that is more than two-thirds of our universities; six medical research institutes and four publicly funded research agencies.

The National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA) is supporting the expansion of SAGE.

“The NISA funding has allowed us to bring more organisations on board, enabling us to accommodate the very strong interest from Australian universities, medical and research institutes and publicly-funded institutions for national, collective action to address gender inequity,” Dr Billiards says.

In joining the pilot, each institution has declared their commitment to the 10 Principles of the Athena SWAN Charter. The Vice Chancellor or Director of each institution has made a commitment to support and resource their institutes to lead an evidence-based evaluation of policy, practices and cultural change to drive gender equity and diversity.

The SAGE program is based on the success of the United Kingdom’s ATHENA Swan Program and was founded by the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering.

Organisations who demonstrate their commitment to gender equality, eliminating gender bias and developing an inclusive culture that values all staff, are awarded the Athena SWAN Bronze Award. Pending the success of this initial stage, Silver Awards are expected to be introduced in Australia in 2019.