Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Diversity Values Must Be Backed By Actions

By Catherine Lockley

A disabled student’s story reveals the huge systemic barriers faced by minority groups seeking a science education.

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

Research tells us that diversity fosters better science. Most Australian universities have a list of policies available to all staff and students promoting diversity, and many develop initiatives to specifically target and enrol these students.

On paper, diversity is encouraged and supported by both government and institutional policy and infrastructure, but how do these initiatives translate into experience for the students?

Not well, according to a 2017 survey of underrepresented minority students published in Science (, which found that initiatives and policy don’t translate effectively into student experience. As a result, underrepresented minority groups face huge systemic barriers that make their journey resemble a game of Fortnite played in Battle Royale mode.

While Universities Australia has reported a 94% increase in enrolments by students with a disability over the past decade (, the Australian Human Rights Commission has stated definitively that “there are not enough services available to students with a disability to match the requirements” (

Why do diversity...

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