Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Enhancing Women’s Career Prospects

By Mark Toner

Women need better career options and more control over their professional lives.

Dr Mark Toner FTSE is a company director and management consultant and Immediate Past Chair of Australian Science Innovations. With Gunilla Burrowes he runs a gender consulting business, Gender Matters. Ms Burrowes is an electrical engineer with extensive experience with gender issues in engineering.

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

Women continue to be disadvantaged in male-dominated organisations. Engineering and some parts of science remain heavily male-dominated, so female engineers and scientists will invariably work for organisations run by men, and some cultures and practices may disadvantage them in their careers.

There are at least five excellent reasons for having much greater gender balance in professions like engineering – equity (equal rights for women), excellence (using the most talented people to achieve quality), efficacy (accessing all available pools of talent), efficiency (not wasting the talents of educated women) and personality-type balance (more values-based members and less impersonal, analytical types).

But increasing the number of women attracted to engineering and science is just the start of the process. Once women are trained and working within these professions, they are being challenged by workplace cultures and practices that in some cases favour men, alienate women, and cause women to leave their profession.

To simply argue that corporate cultures need to change does not bring about the necessary changes. Women need a new approach to enhancing their career prospects, allowing them to have better career options and more control over their professional lives.

The aim of employees should be to get to positions and to do the type of work that...

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