March 5, 2020 | Published by |

In recognition of International Women’s Day, the chief investigators at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes (CLEX) have signed up to the Male Champions of Change Panel Pledge. This commits the chief investigators to bring gender balance to every forum with signatories agreeing to:

  • Only speak at events if they include a diversity of speakers
  • Raise issues of gender balance
  • Actively encourage women’s voices
  • Not accept any excuses

“This is just one step to increasing representation of women as authorities and key spokespeople for the science,” said CLEX Centre Director Prof Andy Pitman.

“By exercising their influence, our climate champions for change can encourage other senior researchers, scientific organisations and conference organisers to place women front-and-centre in some of the important scientific discussions of our time.”

The pledge is one of many initiatives by the Centre of Excellence. Its Diversity and Culture Committee has been active in promoting a wide range of equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives spanning gender equity, ethnic diversity, kindness in science, mental health and wellbeing, among others. Other examples of the centre’s efforts to invest in the careers of future female leaders include helping fund a participant in the Homeward Bound initiative and creating the CLEX Career Development Award for Women and Underrepresented Groups, which can be used to fund career development opportunities.

Currently, the Centre of Excellence has gender parity amongst its student and early career researchers but, as is often the case in science, women are underrepresented at more senior levels. The Centre has therefore set targets to have equal gender representation at all levels and continues to strive towards this goal.

“One of the five key pillars of the Centre’s strategic plan is to create an outstanding environment for everyone in the centre and, furthermore, for CLEX to be an exemplar in this space,” said Chief Operating Officer and co-chair of the Culture and Diversity Committee, Mr Stephen Gray.

“We are working hard to equalise the playing field, recognising that for women and other traditionally underrepresented groups in STEM this often requires conscious effort to overcome structural disadvantage.  “Having a diversity of speakers at internal events is already a part of the fabric of our Centre culture. By signing the panel pledge we are committed to taking conversations about the importance of gender equity – and diversity in general – into the broader research community.”