TMOS joins high profile STEM organisations as a Decadal Plan Champion
05 Feb, 2024
Australia put out a call for champions to lead a 10-year push to achieve gender equity in STEM. TMOS, the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Transformative Meta-Optical Systems answered the call and have published their first Decadal Plan Champion Update.
In this update, TMOS has committed to providing work and education opportunities for women and girls in STEM along with fostering an environment in which they can thrive.
The Women in STEM Decadal Plan was requested by the Australian Government and led by the Australian Academy of Science and Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering. It provides a framework for government, academia, the education system, industry, and the community to increase women’s participation in STEM careers.
The framework consists of six ‘opportunities’ for action: leadership, evaluation, workplace culture, visibility, education and industry action. The Australian Academy of Science leads the Decadal Plan Champions initiative which invites STEM organisations to align their gender equity initiatives with the opportunities in the Decadal Plan.
Australian Academy of Science Vice President and Secretary for Physical Sciences Professor Malcolm Sambridge welcomed TMOS as a Decadal Plan Champion. “TMOS has demonstrated its commitment to positive and sustainable change for women in STEM. We are excited to see TMOS progress in its journey to achieve gender equity and we look forward to supporting them to improve diversity in the workforce,” said Professor Sambridge.
“While many organisations are taking actions at an individual level to support the attraction, retention and progression of women in STEM, extensive consultations confirmed there is an urgent case for cohesive, systemic and sustained change.”
In its response, TMOS has aligned its gender equity journey with the decadal plan. It committed to the pivotal goal of achieving 40% representation of women amongst its members by 2026 in contrast to an industry baseline of 17%.
It recognised human diversity as an asset and acknowledged its potential as a source of growth and creativity. It committed to equitable practice as a crucial factor for participation and opportunity, and it advocated for inclusive practices and processes across all its partner organisations.
Most importantly, the Centre embraced responsibility for creating and promoting inclusive research and working environments, which are open to differences, invite diversity, and are intolerant of discrimination.
TMOS Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access (IDEA) Director Madhu Bhaskaran says, “We belong to the first cohort of ARC Centres of Excellence with key performance indicators around gender balance and professional development for all centre personnel around IDEA. As such, we identified key ways forward right from the inception of the centre with the first centre to have a dedicated IDEA focussed staff member. Being a centre focussed on physics and engineering, which are historically some of the disciplines with lowest percentage of women, it is pleasing to see our proactive approaches pay off.”
The Decadal Plan Champion update outlined the Centre’s existing work toward achieving the initiative’s 10-year vision, including a strategic plan that is structured around principles of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access (IDEA); unconscious bias training for all leaders within the Centre’ its women-only and women-first recruitment rounds; and its efforts to provide more visibility for its women researchers both internally and externally.
TMOS Centre Director Dragomir Neshev says, “I am deeply committed to increasing the number of women in our Centre and I am proud of the work done by our team to increase awareness of IDEA across the Centre and the strides we’ve taken to make the Centre more inclusive from a cultural perspective but also from a practical one, with initiatives such as travel and carers grants that make it easier for women to fully participate in their careers while balancing other commitments.”
To learn more about the Centre’s commitment to the Women in STEM Decadal plan and to review its work in the IDEA space, you can read the Women In STEM Decadal Plan Champion Response here.