Submission to Women in STEM Decadal Plan Consultation

Submission to Women in STEM Decadal Plan Consultation

10th October, 2018

The Australian Academy of Science is holding a consultation to develop the Women in STEM Decadal Plan, a 10-year roadmap for increasing women’s participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education through to careers. The plan will inform a Women in STEM National Strategy to be developed by the Australian Government in 2018.

In the AAMRI’s submission to the consultation for developing the Decadal Plan, the recommendations address the underlying barriers that prevent retention and promotion of women in medical research. The long term goal is to achieve equal representation of women in senior medical research positions and leadership roles.

AAMRI has also suggested expanding the definition of STEM to include medicine: STEMM.


  1. Increase visibility of Relative to Opportunity statements in grant application forms for the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Australian Research Council (ARC) and other funding schemes.
  2. Expand performance measures for track record in research funding, recruitment and promotion processes to promote gender equality and diversity.
  3. Ensure there are research funding initiatives that prioritise the most novel, promising and feasible scientific ideas.
  4. Establish sector-wide tracking of the gender pay gap for research organisations and industry.
  5. Coordinate and streamline reporting of sector wide metrics for gender equality in the workforce to track progress and successes.
  6. Include behavioural expectations as well as performance when evaluating track record and researchers’ abilities for research funding and promotions.
  7. Increase promotion and use of existing directories of successful STEMM role models and leaders, ensuring cultural and gender across the full spectrum of careers.
  8. Provide a balance of women-only initiatives and initiatives aimed at overall improvement in the industry.
  9. Parental support initiatives should be introduced and available for all parents and not limited to women.
  10. Organisations should have high quality training in place for men and women to support and facilitate the complementary culture changes related to diversity and gender
  11. Initiatives addressing gender equality need to be intersectional and include women from diverse cultural backgrounds and LBGTIQA+ people.