Gender equity

Gender equity

Women scientists in laboratory

The Institute 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.

Early Childhood Education and Care centre

The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute is the first medical research institute in Australia to establish its own on-site Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) centre, as part of its commitment to gender equity. Construction of the facility will commence in 2017.

Recognising our women researchers

Cory Fellowship

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

The fellowship is available every five years; Associate Professor Clare Scott was the first recipient in 2009.

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.

Women in Science lectures

This lecture series provides a showcase for outstanding female scientists. A networking reception is held after the lecture for Melbourne scientific leaders to attend and to encourage networking amongst our female postdoctoral fellows and female laboratory heads.

Equal representation at Institute-sponsored meetings

All Institute 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 the Institute’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. The Institute 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.

The Institute 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 9:15am and prior to 4:30pm, this allows for appropriate scheduling.

Eligible staff can apply for maternity and paternity leave and return to work flexible working arrangements are also available.

Silhouette of female researcher

Institute researcher Miss Dora Lush cited as one of many Australian women scientists who deserve better recognition.

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.