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For Whom?

Opportunities exist for those who, in addition to being meticulous and hard working, have been supported and mentored (Ibarra, 2010) to have, the confidence (Kay & Shipman, 2014) and optimism, self-assertion and bravado, as well as the intellectual and technical ability, to succeed in what some describe as a ‘tournament’ but we think of as a marathon [Marathon Metaphor]. This includes those whose life circumstances enable them to commit to cultures of long hours, full-time, continuous employment when available, and the political skills and resilience to negotiate a highly competitive and insecure employment/funding environment over a career lifetime. Importantly, an intensive period of research productivity in the post-doctoral career stage, a critical stage for family formation for women, is key to establishing a career as an ‘independent’ researcher. These attributes may be characterised as those of the ‘ideal’ research worker (Acker, 1992) – a scientist whose life circumstances enable them to engage in the continuous accumulation of academic and social capital Morley (2013)

Women, especially those who have children, are less likely to be employed full-time than men. Amongst our respondents, three times the number of women than men have taken significant periods of leave during the course of their careers, and a significant number of women believe that this has affected their career progression.

There are also income gaps between men and women who are employed full-time, especially pronounced in the higher income categories. Males reach higher income categories at a younger age and a small but stable proportion of females remain in the lower income categories for all ages, whereas for males this group diminishes steadily.


Women in the Science Research Workforce: Identifying and Sustaining the Diversity Advantage, was funded as an ARC Linkage project 2011-2014 (LP110200480).
Project Cis were Professor Sharon Bell and Professor Lyn Yates. The project was hosted by the University of Melbourne.