Institutional Gender Equity Policies

In response to the need to promote gender equity and diversity, and concerns expressed by early to mid-career researchers about balancing a research career with family responsibilities, NHMRC sought to develop a partnership with institutions to publicise examples of best practice in gender equity policies. The aim of this exercise is to define, highlight and strengthen such practices.  All NHMRC Administering Institutions were invited to identify activities and approaches in place to support gender equity within their institutions in 2013.

The Office of NHMRC received responses from 46 Institutions. The policies are varied and some key examples have been provided below.

  • List of Institutions who responded to NHMRC
     
  • Targeted Packages and Programs/Leadership Development
    • Ensure that women constitute one third of policy-making, funding and decision-making boards.
    • Institute consistent, systematic reporting of gender data. Five year fellowships for new women laboratory heads – all women applicants will be automatically considered.
    • Career Interruption Fellowships, in recognition that there are key points in female staff members lives which require an infrastructure of employer policies and programs.
    • The Advancing Women’s Research Success Grant program; $12K for 30 women in 2013
    • Research Fellowship of $40-$60K for mid-career staff whose careers have been significantly affected by sustained caring responsibilities.
    • Promoting Women Fellowship; to increase the percentage of women in senior academic positions.  Preference given to women who expect to apply within 3 years, designed to strengthen the Fellow’s research profile or assist in developing leadership potential.
  • Transition Point Support
    • Re-entry post-doctoral fellowships.
    • Technical support to continue work while maternity leave is taken.
    • Development of succession plans with individuals identified and supported.
    • Research Re-establishment scholarship of up to $15K to assist staff returning from parental. leave to enable them to spend concentrated time on research.
  • Travel/Childcare Assistance
    • Conference Travel Fellowships.
    • Support packages of up to $15K per annum to assist with childcare expenses.
    • Advancing Women’s Research Success Grant program – can be used for travel and carer support.
  • Mentoring/Skills training
    • Ensuring gender equity initiatives are championed by senior leaders.
    • Women’s Networking Group (several institutions).
    • Mentoring Scheme for Women – open to all levels of staff and run every second year.  Matches mentee with mentor over a 6 month period.
    • Mentoring support provided at Faculty level for academics at various points in their career; voluntary and varied in nature and design.
  • Parental/Maternity Leave
    • Up to 12 month’s paid parental leave for the mother and the option of child rearing leave until the child attends school.
    • 14 weeks full pay + 38 weeks at 60%, or 22.8 weeks at full pay.
    • 26 weeks + up to 2 years of unpaid leave along with the ability to undertake casual hours when on unpaid parental leave to keep in touch with the workplace.
    • A ‘stay-in-touch’ policy whilst staff are on parental leave (e.g.email accounts are maintained and staff are invited to key institutional events if they wish to attend).
    • Return-to Work bonus – 12 week pay.
    • Academic members are allowed to convert a period of paid parental leave into an approved University account for the purposes of re-establishing an academic career.
  • Flexible Working Arrangements
    • Purchased leave
  • Family Rooms
    • Dedicated family rooms that are fully furnished and equipped for
      • private breastfeeding
      • separate rooms for parental responsibilities.
  • Salary Gaps and financial support in critical times
    • Provision of a gender pay equity analysis on an annual basis.
    • Additional time for Contract Renewal:
      • The period between an initial 5 year appointment as a laboratory head and renewal of this position often coincides with bearing and raising children.  Women will be afforded an additional 12 months (per child) before they will be assessed for renewal of their appointment.

Not listed in Submissions, but suggested by the Working Committee for inclusion:

  • Seminar Series Gender Balance
    • Achieve a target 40% women speakers at symposia and seminar series of Institutes/Divisions or Departments.  Underrepresentation of women is common and impacts subconsciously on an audience as to what it means to be a ‘successful scientist’.
  • Salary Sacrifice Options
    • Salary-sacrificing for on-campus or nearby childcare, nanny or au-pair.
  • Guaranteed Childcare Access
    • Ensure primary carer researchers are guaranteed a place in a suitable child care facility, from age 6 weeks to 5 years.