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Women in Science: Lessons from Australia

Sharon Bell


Outstanding women are increasingly seen achieving at the highest levels and taking key roles in the fields of science and technology. However, a number of recent international studies provide evidence of persistent patterns of horizontal segregation (by discipline) and vertical segregation (by level of seniority and measures of esteem) of women in higher education and research. Research undertaken in Australia by the author Sharon Bell for the Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies (FASTS) on women in science suggests that the question of women in higher education and research is a half-prosecuted agenda that continues to impact on productivity and innovation. This research affirms Professor Bell's earlier work on women in research undertaken for the Australian Vice Chancellors' Committee. It is argued that this agenda now needs to be advanced through systematic organisational cultural change and changes to our construction of the ‘ideal science worker'. An evidence-based change implementation framework is proposed.

NOTE: The FASTS report Women in Science in Australia is available to download via the 'Supplementary file' link of the reading tools (see right-hand sidebar of this screen).


gender; organizational change

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