Women in Science

This is what we are doing to progress gender equity in the Faculty of Science.

We’re proud of the steps we’ve already made towards gender equity in the Faculty. But we recognise that there’s still much to do.

With leadership from our Associate Dean (Diversity, Inclusion and Women in Science), Dr Georgina Such, we have ambitious goals and well-resourced strategic initiatives underway, including a Women in STEM strategic plan to be launched in 2021.

Athena SWAN Bronze Award

Athena SWAN Bronze Award logoIn 2020, the University of Melbourne was awarded an Athena SWAN Bronze Award for our commitment to advancing gender equity and promoting inclusiveness in science.

The award recognises our ongoing efforts to improve gender diversity, our intention to increase the number of women in senior leadership positions, and our promotion of an inclusive culture for women.

Women in Science Network

This very active network works to foster a supportive environment for female professional and academic staff within the Faculty, including:

  • providing professional development
  • supporting retention of staff
  • increasing female representation, particularly at senior levels.

Membership is open to all Faculty of Science staff members who identify as female, with some activities open to all staff regardless of gender.

Four female and one male panellists sit on a stage, next to a 'Science at Melbourne' banner, in front of a full audience.
A Women in Science Network careers seminar for Faculty of Science Staff, with panellists including University of Melbourne leaders and Lord Mayor Sally Capp.

Professional development events and seminars

The Women in Science Network runs events for and featuring inspiring women throughout the year. Keep an eye on the Faculty of Science events calendar for details.

Mentoring for women

The Faculty of Science Mentoring Program provides mentoring for academic (levels B or C, in fixed-term and continuing roles) and professional staff. More senior colleagues provide mentoring over a 12-month period to support career progression.

The School of Mathematics and Statistics also offers the MS Walkers informal mentoring program.

Women-only scholarships and roles

We fund scholarships for female Masters students and have recruited staff to women-only continuing academic roles in areas where women are under-represented. Read about the Dean's Fund for Science Scholarship winners.

Parental leave support for academics

We understand that career interruptions from having and raising children can have negative effects on the career progression of academics.

To reduce the impact of these interruptions, primary carers can apply to access funding of up to $50,000 over two years to support continuity of research during and after paid parental leave.

The funding can be used for technical or research support staff, child care, or other expenses to support career continuity.

Additionally, the School of Mathematics and Statistics offers a travel support scheme for staff with child-care responsibilities.

Women in Science Emerging Researcher (WISER) Award

The Faculty of Science aspires to be a leader for gender equity in the higher education sector. One of the most significant challenges for gender equity in this sector is significant attrition of female staff within the early career stages, leading to low participation of women in senior research and leadership. The Women in Science Emerging Researcher (WISER) Award launched in 2020 aims to address this issue by highlighting two amazing early (ECR) or mid-career (MCR) researchers each year and providing them with resources to further their research career. The Faculty of Science WISER Award is a targeted award for female researchers who have excelled in their chosen research fields and are leaders of the future.

The Faculty of Science also values the work that our female staff do to promote science within the community. Thus, a second eligibility criteria for the award will be the candidate’s engagement with outreach activities which can include school, community or government groups. There will be two awards each year, one for researchers working in the Physical Sciences and the other for researchers in the Natural and Health Sciences.

We wish to thank our inaugural donor for the support of WISER in Physical Sciences.

Apply for WISER

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