Addressing issues of gender equity is a major strategic priority for IMB, and for UQ. Increasing diversity by narrowing the gender gap at senior levels of the IMB will maximise workplace productivity and potential for all staff and students regardless of gender.

Increasing female representation at senior levels will not only ensure role models for younger members of IMB, but will also provide much needed diversity in the senior decision making fora of the institute.

While IMB has initiatives around enhancing working conditions for those with caring responsibilities, there is no formal gender equity plan. While it is recognised that a gender equity goal may require measures to compensate for historical disadvantages of women, it is important that gender equity does not become solely a women’s issue.

IMB is committed to creating an inclusive and positive environment for all staff and students regardless of gender. A gender equity strategy must strive to attract and retain the highest quality staff and students, recognising that gender equality enhances the working environment and productivity for all.


• IMB executive are committed to implementing change

• Momentum is building for change within the STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics, medicine) fields through the SAGE Pilot of the Athena SWAN charter, of which UQ is a member

• Scientific research is generally compatible with flexible working hours 


• Structure of the IMB, with each research group run by a group leader, means decisions on employment, mentoring etc. are devolved to individual group leaders, potentially creating inequity across groups

• IMB, and STEMM fields more generally, have a paucity of female role models at senior levels

• Funding environment does not support a gender neutral review and award process, such that external award of funds already shapes the pool.


• Potential to enhance productivity by creating an inclusive and equitable working environment where everyone feels valued

• Potential to ensure IMB has the highest quality workforce by accessing all available talent

• Inclusion of more women in senior decision making processes will improve performance and productivity of IMB overall

• Addressing gender equity now will position IMB for applying for its own Athena SWAN accreditation once UQ has achieved bronze status


• Scientific research is seen as a male dominated field

• Scientific research is considered an insecure career path that is incompatible with career breaks, and therefore difficult to combine with family


• Indicators of success eg. publication record, grant income, speaking engagements, are determined externally and often don’t favour women


The IMB gender equity strategy will adopt a top down approach, with the IMB Executive responsible and accountable for establishing gender equity actions and ensuring processes to measure success. Implementation of the strategy will be the responsibility of the IMB Equity and Diversity (E&D) Committee in consultation with the IMB Executive.

Creating a family and carer-friendly environment

• hold meetings within family friendly hours

• encourage flexible work hours particularly for those with caring responsibilities

• work with the University to provide equal access to parental leave for men and women

• provide access to breast-feeding and parents room

• on-site parking for staff and students in the third trimester of pregnancy

• make pregnant staff aware of support available both internally and externally to aid through parental leave and returning to work

Enhancing professional environment/mentoring

• ensure seminar programs and conferences associated with IMB reflect the gender balance of the target audience

• provide focused mentoring through the promotion process, particularly at the Academic Levels A to B and B to C, including training in self-promotion in CV and other relevant documents

• provide information on University-run and external Leadership courses

• encourage all deserving staff, particularly women, to apply for appropriate external and internal awards

• where relevant promote IMB women for prominent career-enhancing roles, and for speaking slots at conferences both internally and externally

Communication and reporting

• provide effective two-way communication channels to address issues of gender equity

• provide an informative website with links to relevant resources/communities to support women in career progression

• collect data on gender equity initiatives and review progress at IMB Executive level on a quarterly basis, and report to the IMB Board biannually.

• develop a gender-inclusive culture where gender equality is considered a normal goal and responsibility of all staff and students

• prevent gender-based harassment and discrimination in the workplace and provide suitable non-intimidating grievance reporting procedures

Recruitment and review

• direct all group leaders and others with recruiting responsibilities to strive for gender balance in their appointments

• ensure recruitment, promotion and internal review committees are gender representative

• ensure candidates interviewed for any position at IMB comprise a balanced representation of both men and women, or provide a justification for why an individual case should be an exception (eg. reflection of currently available pool)

• make unconscious bias training available to all staff and students, and compulsory for group leaders and those on recruitment, promotion and internal review and grant ranking panels

• strive to achieve a gender balance in senior academic (group leader) positions through considered recruiting processes, aiming to appoint a minimum of 50% women to these positions in any three-year period