Melbourne University rues gender inequality in maths. Advertises female-only jobs!

Melbourne University rues gender inequality in maths. Advertises female-only jobs!

Extraordinary times warrant extraordinary measures. This is what the officials of The University of Melbourne are thinking whilst they advertise female-only jobs to reduce gender imbalances, which pervade its Mathematics academia.

Australia has an abysmally low percentage of females working in higher departments of Mathematics. They form only quarter of all academics in Mathematics. To remove this gender disparity, Melbourne University has come up with a unique idea. The University has advertised three positions for female applicants only in its School of Mathematics and Statistics that may range from Lecturer, to Senior Lecturer, to Associate Professor. This is the first time in the history of the University that it has restricted permanent academic positions to female-only candidates.

According to the recent studies conducted in 2014, only 30% women represent the first academic rank of Associate Lecturer, 20% women represent the second academic rank of Associate Professor, and the highest rank of Professor is represented by just 9% of women. The senior the rank, the less the representation. Although women remain underrepresented in the fields of Science, Technology, and Engineering; Mathematics has the lowest representation among different subjects of studies. The main reason behind this gender inequality is an unconscious bias against women in promotions.

It is not out of the blue that The University of Melbourne is going out with the advertisements. There is a specific act that guarantees its applicability. The special dictum of the Victorian Equal Opportunity Act confers the rights of organizations to engage in promoting equal opportunities. This kind of positive discrimination is being used for the very first time in these kinds of positions.

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