Fighting inequality in technology

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women researchers
Monash Uni is looking to create better outcomes for female researchers and IT professionals. Image - Canva.

The annual Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee (EDI) of Monash University says there will be a new focus on encouraging diversity within the technology sector.

The university committee was formed in 2020 following research about the effects of COVID19 on the careers of women and care givers.

EDI aims to bridge the gap between unequal access to legitimate IT education, the gender gap, and disproportionate access to growth opportunities.

The remit of the committee is:

Equity and inclusion seeks to provide equal opportunities and equal expectations for individuals, regardless of their gender, race, culture or sexual identity. It builds the foundations for an inclusive and productive workplace in which all individuals can achieve their best and diversity is valued.

The Committee seeks to advance gender equity, inclusion and diversity within the School of Physics and Astronomy, so our community of staff and students welcomes and reflects the diversity of the Australian community.

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Monash Uni

The report addresses change from three levels. It focuses on growth among professional staff, students and academics within the field.

Specific targets included the “an increase on the proportion of women hired as research assistants/ fellows on externally funded appointments by 5% over a 12-month period”.

Additionally, the committee aims to increase the number of female professors from 28% to 40% by 2023.

Associate Dean of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in the faculty of IT Yolande Strengers says she aims to “create an inclusive and equitable environment for all”.

Under Associate Professor Strengers guidance, the committee will aim to respond to issues within the IT sector, address inadequacies inside and out of the committee, and create an annual report which identifies initiatives and commitments to fairness, equality and inclusivity.

The goals of this committee align directly with the EDI goals of Monash University. The EDI committees both faculties focus on the inclusivity of all genders, sexes, sexualities, socio-economic statuses, ethnicities, cultural and linguistic backgrounds, disabilities and medical conditions, including mental health.

The current goal is to build on the results from the report and continue to focus on the improvement of “opportunities for underrepresented and disadvantaged students and staff within the faculty”.

It is much needed work, and you can read more about what they do on the Monash Uni website.