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It is widely agreed that there is a great deal more work to be done to improve the representation of women at senior levels in Australian medical research. In this edition of Perspectives, we focus on gender inequality in the Australian science sector and explore how individuals and organisations are taking steps to effect change.

An important new program designed to address this issue is the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) pilot, an initiative of the Australian Academy of Science in partnership with the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering. More than 32 national research and science organisations, including Baker IDI, have signed up to be part of this two-year pilot.

Some Australian research institutions are leading the charge and setting new benchmarks, having introduced a range of practical policies to influence gender equity. While the nation’s largest funder of medical research, the National Health and Medical Research Council, has issued guidelines and minimum standards on gender equality to institutions that wish to apply for funding.

If, and how, such measures can foster a cultural shift and bring real and sustainable change to the sector remains to be seen, with gender equality in science set to dominate the spotlight during the coming years.

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