The number of women graduating from Australian universities with a degree is far out-pacing men. Two-thirds of university students are women and some people (men) are so alarmed by this that they are highlighting it as a gender inequality issue that has to be urgently rectified.
Yep, we’ll get right onto that.
Any hoo, if women are graduating from universities with all these degrees, what are they doing with them? We know they aren’t all using them because men are over-represented in most industries and get paid more to do the same jobs.
Then there’s the issue of tertiary institutions themselves and those students who want to enter research programs, achieve doctorates and maybe even become professors. It’s here, in the upper echelons of tertiary education in Australia, that most institutions more accurately reflect the rest of society.
There just aren’t many women getting to that level.
One of Australia’s top mathematicians is Nalini Joshi. She is a professor at Sydney University and also co-founding chair of the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) initiative. Professor Joshi says when it comes to female representation among professors, “Australia is frozen in time.”
“I am the first female mathematician ever to be appointed as professor at Australia’s oldest university. I was the third female mathematician ever elected to the Australian Academy of Science,” she told Fairfax. “But when I attend functions at the academy, wearing a black suit, with a name badge, I am often mistaken for one of the serving staff. And, I am not alone.”
Professor Joshi addressed the National Press Club last week, calling for an end to the marginalisation of female researchers in Australian universities. She wants a drastic change to this sector which hasn’t seen any improvements in gender relations since the 1950s.
“Research in modern science is still conducted within organisational cultures that resemble a feudal monastery,” she says.