Gaining the Diversity Advantage

The premise on which this Toolkit is based is that organisations, and senior leaders in particular, want to change the profile of female representation, and are committed to doing so. The evidence is that in most professional organisational contexts overt discrimination against women has been addressed. Disadvantage now tends to be evidenced in an accumulation of factors, assumptions and sub-conscious perspectives. In this context change is a marathon, not a sprint, for organisations as well as for individuals.

To be successful change should be led from the most senior leaders Neale & Bell (2005) , based on facts and analysis, and a constant process of goal setting, intervention, monitoring, evaluation and review. It is iterative in nature, and requires engagement at all levels. There is a possible broad range of change agents who influence organisational culture, and change programs Women in Science: Lessons from Australia in Gender Science and Technology should be tailored to identify and communicate with those who are most influential. Commitment to formal evaluation and benchmarking such as the Athena Swan Charter can facilitate and provide a nationally recognised framework for this process.

The collection and analysis of pertinent data [see Data Collection] is the basis for engagement. Each organisational profile and context is different, and demands customised data collection and responses. However there are a number of well-documented patterns that point clearly to what we need to know in order to effect change.


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.