AUTHORS: Hilary P.M. Winchester & Lynette Browning, Central Queensland University
The article reviews growth in women academics in Australian universities from the 1980s to 2014 when overall percentage of women reached 44%. However, the share of women in senior positions is still lower (31%) than men’s. The authors identify an under representation of women in research and research funding. The article includes and discusses milestones of legislation, policy, research and strategic programs, strategies and frameworks that have worked.
Gender equality in academia has been monitored in Australia for the past three decades so it is timely to reflect on what progress has been made, what works, and what challenges remain. When data were first published on the gender composition of staff in Australian universities in the mid-1980s women comprised 20 per cent of academic staff and held 6 per cent of senior positions. Since the early 1990s many Australian universities have had policies in place to remove sex discrimination and initiatives to increase women’s representation in academia. Two decades on, women comprise 44 per cent of academic staff and hold 31 per cent of senior positions. How did this happen? What worked? Are there still challenges to be addressed? This paper provides a critical reflection on what has worked, the practical impacts on gender in academia in Australia and what challenges remain for the future.