Gender equity

Gender equity

Women scientists in laboratory

WEHI is aware of the challenges experienced by women to make the transition from postdoctoral fellow to laboratory head, and from there to more senior roles. Although women have made up the majority of biology undergraduates for decades, progress towards parity at senior levels has been glacial.

We aim to maximise opportunities for research discoveries. To do this we must use our entire talent pool.

Professor Lynn Corcoran Early Learning Centre

WEHI is the first medical research institute in Australia to establish its own on-site Early Learning Centre, as part of its commitment to gender equity.

Recognising our women researchers

Cory Fellowship

To celebrate WEHI's fifth director Professor Suzanne Cory, we created a $1.25 million, five-year fellowship for new women laboratory heads.

Craven and Shearer Award

Female postdoctoral fellows and female laboratory heads are invited to apply for a limited number of support packages of up to $15,000 per annum to assist with childcare costs for pre-school-age children.

Page-Betheras Award

Female researchers can experience a period of reduced productivity while on maternity leave. This can potentially impede the transition from postdoctoral fellow to laboratory head. When planning maternity leave, female postdoctoral fellows are encouraged to discuss additional technical support with their division head and the director.

Equal representation at Institute-sponsored meetings

All WEHI symposia aim to have equal representation of speakers and session chairs. This encompasses committees, seminars, lectures and conferences as well as those sponsored by the Institute.

Organisations that use WEHI's facilities to host their events and activities are encouraged to do the same and ensure equal representation.

Supporting our women researchers

Family and lactation rooms

A family room is available in both Parkville and Bundoora campuses. This facility allows parents to care for their infants and children when regular childcare arrangements fall through. Lactation rooms are available for mothers to breast-feed infants, as well as express and store milk.

Meeting and travel support

Female postdoctoral fellows and female laboratory heads with pre-school-age children can apply to their division heads for support to attend meetings and conferences, participate in peer-review committees and other academic activities.

Additional time for contract renewal

The period between an initial five-year appointment as a laboratory head and renewal of this position often coincides with bearing and raising children. WEHI provides such women with an additional 12 months (per child) before they will be assessed for appointment renewal.

A dynamic research organisation

We have instigated a number of measures to ensure our staff and students enjoy a great working environment.

WEHI encourages people with family responsibilities to propose flexible working hours that provide a reasonable balance between working requirements and personal needs.

Family-friendly meeting times are scheduled to begin after 9:30am and prior to 4:30pm, this allows for appropriate scheduling.

Eligible staff can apply for parental leave and on returning to work, WEHI has provision for flexible working arrangements.

Photo of childcare centre building from the front

The Institute has built a 100-place early learning centre for families in our community.

Doug Hilton in his office

Professor Doug Hilton has been named as one of 20 inaugural ‘Male Champions of Change’ by the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, for his work to improve the representation of women at senior levels of medical research.

Staff stand with their bicycles on the institute Parkville forecourt

We are keen to ensure our staff and students are not only a part of a dynamic research organisation, but also enjoy a great working environment.

Athena SWAN award

Our commitment to addressing gender inequality, supporting diversity and creating an inclusive workplace culture have been recognised with a prestigious Athena SWAN Bronze Award from Science in Australia Gender Equity.