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Women in Science Across the Globe – Australia

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This is the first blog post in a short series presented by the Women in Bone and Mineral Research Committee focusing on women in science in different countries. Each month, the Women’s Committee will focus on a specific region and highlight stories or articles that are pertinent to female researchers in that area. This month’s blog focuses on Australia and features articles on the following topics.

  • A loss of female talent in the Australian scientific workforce and what can be done about it
  • An Australian female scientist and her personal story of transitioning from a job in industry back to academia
  • Why girls lack confidence in the STEM fields
  • What women in Australian science really need – formal mentoring programs


To view the full articles:


Woodhouse, Janette. “Empowering Women to Stay in Science”. LabOnline. 12 April 2015. http://www.labonline.com.au/content/lab-business/article/empowering-women-to-stay-in-science-743417803


Gumulya, Yosephine. “A Different Journey: Academia to Industry and Back”. Franklin Women. 21 April 2015. http://franklinwomen.com.au/different-journey-academia-industry-back/


Gallaher, Michelle. “Girls and STEM: Let’s Ban the Phrase ‘I Suck at Maths’”. The Social Science. 13 March 2015. http://womeninscienceaust.org/2015/04/25/girls-and-stem-lets-ban-the-phrase-i-suck-at-maths/


Semsarian, Chris. “What Women in Science Really Need?”. Women in Science AUSTRALIA. 6 April 2015. http://womeninscienceaust.org/2015/04/06/what-women-in-science-really-need/



Do you have something to say about Women in Science in your own country or region of origin? Send it to the ASBMR Women’s Committee here. Please be sure to share your thoughts and comments by clicking on “reply to this topic” in the space below.

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Guest Allison Pettit

As a mid-career female biomedical scientist in Australia, the most fundamental issue for me is that National Health and Medical Research Council funding decisions are heavily weighted on most recent 5 year track record and that NHMRC policies for correcting for career disruption considerations are inadequate. This means working Mums become very quickly non-competitive as chief investigators on project grants and particularly for more senior fellowship schemes, irrespective of the quality of science being proposed in those applications. This is particularly an issue for women who chose to manage the considerable struggle of full time employment with primary carer responsibilities. The only career track record compensation we get is the actual maternity leave taken and as soon as this drops off our most recent 5 year track record, we're considered on a level playing field with peers who don't have the same commitments/challenges. The career impact of having children does not stop as soon as maternity leave is completed and it certainly doesn't stop the day the child turns 5 years old. This is compounded by 'impact lag' on publication output. My track record was most significantly impacted approximately 1-2 years after the birth of my first child. I have made my career and life choices with eyes wide open, so I'm grudgingly reconciled with the fact that my choice to be actively involved in the raising of my children and not to offload it to a "wife", as suggested by Chris Semsarian, will likely result in my attrition from biomedical science in the next 5 years. It's sad that we seem forced to make the choice between being an engaged Mum or being an engaged scientist. In my opinion gender inequality at mid-senior career levels will remain until these challenges are clearly acknowledged and compensated for.

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