Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Crosspost: Closing the gender gap in the Australian astronomy workforce

By Lisa Kewley

The fractions encompass all contract and permanent staff in
Australian astronomy in December 2019. Levels A–E correspond
to postdoc, assistant professor, associate professor, professor and
distinguished professor in the US system. (Kewley, 2021) Source

Australian data show that women’s participation at the senior levels in astronomy remains at historically low levels, and that women depart astronomy at two to three times the rate of men. We present data-driven workforce models that predict the future trajectories of the gender fraction in academia, given different hiring and retention initiatives. If the status quo is maintained, the fraction of women at all levels will be below 30% for at least 60 years. If gender parity in hiring and retention targets are adopted, the fraction of 33% women at all levels can be achieved in 20 years. If affirmative action is introduced, the fraction of 33% and 50% women at all levels can be achieved in 10 and 25 years, respectively. Academic institutions need to (1) undertake exit surveys to understand why women depart, (2) adopt retention targets and initiatives to retain women, (3) develop equal hiring at all levels, and (4) support the advancement of women into senior positions.


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