Science in Australia Gender Equity pilot of Athena SWAN and Male Champions of Change: Experience and lessons from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

Abstract: The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) is an independent Australian federal government research agency. CSIRO is actively participating in two key Government funded (National Innovation Statement) initiatives: the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) program, and the Male Champions of Change (MCC) STEM.

In 2014, 140 leaders and policy representatives from Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM) in Australia voted to pilot the Athena SWAN program that had been running successfully in the UK for the past decade, as a partnership between the Australian Academy of Science and the Academy of Technology and Engineering. The pilot, Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE), was met with overwhelming demand, with 95% of Australian Universities and a number of research organisations opting in. Australia’s national science agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) was in the first tranche of the pilot and submitted its application for a SAGE Athena SWAN Bronze Award in March 2018. In this talk, Dr Megan Osmond will describe the approach CSIRO took in developing its application and SAGE Action Plan, challenges along the way, and key early outcomes arising from the work.

The Male Champions of Change (MCC) strategy is a global coalition of men advocating for gender equality. The founding Male Champions of Change was established in 2010. Commencing with 8 Australian leaders, the group has since grown to 100 CEOs, Board Directors, Government Department, University and Military leaders. The focus of the MCC group is working together to achieve a significant and sustainable improvement in the unacceptably low levels of women in leadership by supporting peer groups of influential male leaders, to step up beside women, and drive actions to fast track gender parity. The MCC STEM was established in 2016, with CSIRO’s Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall as Male Champion of Change. Larry committed to lead and influence real change in women’s representation not only in CSIRO but and across STEM. The collaboration between MCC STEM and SAGE provides a unique opportunity to influence change and challenge the systems and stereotypes in STEM that hold women back. CSIRO’s role in the MCC group will support and expedite outcomes of the SAGE program into the future. In this talk, Kerry Elliott will describe the actions, achievements and impact of the MCC STEM group and CSIRO’s approach to supporting males to step up and lead gender initiatives.

Biography: Dr Megan Osmond, Research Scientist, SAGE Project Manager, CSIRO

Megan joined the CSIRO in 2008 as a Post-doctoral Fellow, later converting to an on-going position as a Research Scientist. In mid-2016, Megan took on the role as manager for CSIRO’s Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) program, as part of a nation-wide pilot, and commenced a second PhD focusing on gender equity in STEM. Prior to that, Megan’s scientific research focused on the biological safety of nanomaterials in consumer products, such as carbon nanotubes, and metal oxide nanoparticles in sunscreens.

Biography: Kerry Elliott: Manager Diversity and Inclusion, CSIRO

Kerry has an extensive background in HR, Organisation Development, Diversity and Inclusion and Cultural change in both the public and private sectors. In her role as Manager of Diversity & Inclusion, Kerry leads the CSIRO Diversity and Inclusion Strategy which includes, the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) program and the Male Champions of Change (MCC) initiative. Kerry plays a pivotal role in the drive by Australia’s pre-eminent science organisation to achieving best practice, innovative solutions to remedying gender inequity not only within CSIRO but across the STEM industry.

All welcome.

Refreshments will be available.