Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Changing the Way We Do Things

By Kathryn Fagg

We need to have a critical mass of women in key roles.

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As we seek to increase gender diversity and create more opportunities for talented women, we need to be aware that we are looking to change the way things are done, which can be uncomfortable.

We want to create a better society for Australians, and that means we have to draw on all the talent that is available, both men and women, but be respectful and consider others’ views as we seek to bring about change. We will have a better society when we fully draw on the talent of all of our people.

We also need to recognise where there has been success, and that’s reflected in the increasing number of women on boards and the surge among younger women choosing to study engineering. Leadership has been the key in both cases.

The proportion of women board members in the ASX200 is now at 25%, compared with just 8% back in 2008, which was when there was a wake-up call that something needed to be done as the representation of women actually went backwards.

The 30% Club, supported by the Australian Institute of Company Directors, targets 30% of the ASX200 board members being women by 2018. The appointment rate of women to ASX200 boards was running at 40% in 2016 – the run rate required to achieve the 2018 target.

In the engineering area there is strong leadership evident. At The University of Queensland, 22.9% of its undergraduate engineering...

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