Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

We Need to Keep Women in Focus as Change Agents

By Cathy Foley

Not because we should, but because we must – for innovation’s sake.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

There is strong evidence that companies operating with a gender balance actually enhance their innovation quotient and gain a competitive advantage.

Reports also suggest that advances in gender equity correlate positively with higher Gross National Product (GNP), and that increasing women’s labour force participation and earnings generates greater economic benefits for a family’s health and education.

Science and technology that lead to innovation are critical for the changes that lead to a better quality of life, greater business opportunities and a happier, healthier and more equitable society.

As a nation Australia has achieved great things. Last year the OECD Better Life index named Australia as the country with the highest quality of life in the world.

But we still have considerable work to do in many ways, including closing the gender gap in the workplace. The World Economic Forum reported that in 2013 Australia continued to sit at 24th in closing this gap – just above Ecuador and Mozambique.

Australia still has only 17.6% representation of women on ASX 200 boards (at 14 February 2014), and almost one-quarter of boards of the ASX 200 still do not have any females at all.

Women working in science remain hugely underrepresented in leadership roles, and some areas of physics and engineering have as little as 5% female...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.