Gender Equity Initiative

Mater Research established a Gender Equity Working Group (GEWG) in 2016 to support achievement of Mater Research’s equality and inclusion objectives, advocating for gender equity in the workforce and allocating substantial grants and initiatives to assist women to advance their careers.

In 2017, Mater Research introduced the Strategic Grant for Outstanding Women to support the research and career progression of high potential female biomedical and clinical researchers at Mater Research. This grant provides funding support to the value of $45 000 per annum for two years to two successful applicants. These grants are exclusively available to female researchers at Mater and are a unique opportunity for recipients to increase research productivity, attain key resources, or increase their national or international profile and generate awareness and interest for their research projects within the community.

In collaboration with the GEWG, Mater Research has undertaken a number of strategies to support women’s equal opportunity and career advancement to ensure that female staff are empowered and encouraged to excel. 

These initiatives include:

  • introducing a formal mentoring program in 2014 which allows senior female academics to mentor female early career researchers over a 12 month period. As part of the program, training is given to both mentors and mentees to ensure both parties reap the short-term and long-term benefits of being part of a formal mentoring relationship
  • implementing a number of formal policies to ensure women have equal opportunity for career progression and gender equity exists throughout the entire recruitment process
  • introducing initiatives which support pregnant women or women returning to work such as allocating car parks to pregnant women that are close to their laboratory or office and providing breastfeeding rooms.
  • providing a family friendly work environment and ensuring that women have access to flexible working arrangements to help them manage their work, family and professional development commitments
  • partnering with The University of Queensland (UQ) in the Athena Swan program to assess gender diversity and equity
  • focusing on promoting STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) amongst school aged girls by partnering with local high schools.

In 2017, Mater Research was awarded the Employer of Choice Small Business Award at Women in Technology Awards for ‘clearly recognising the challenges that women face in climbing the academic ladder.’