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Navigating inclusivity: Insights from SASP-APCID 2023 on Workplace Equity and Inclusion

From 22 – 26 November, three team members from the Office of the Australian Government’s Women in STEM Ambassador travelled to Noosa, Queensland, to speak at the joint Society for Australasian Social Psychologists (SASP) and Australasian Congress on Personality and Individual Differences (ACPID) conference.

Dr. Jesse Bergman presented on “A multi-part systematic review of workplace gender equity initiatives”, highlighting key findings from one arm of research the team recently completed to inform the Australian Government’s Diversity in STEM Review. Jesse’s talk synthesised evidence from three separate systematic reviews of the peer-reviewed literature regarding the efficacy of initiatives to create more equitable and inclusive workplaces. These initiatives addressed workforce gender equity, anti-harassment, and the gender pay gap. Based on evidence from more than 9,000 peer-reviewed publications, Jesse emphasised the importance of designing and implementing workplace equity and inclusion initiatives collaboratively and with ongoing reflection, assessment, and evaluation.

From left to right: Associate Professor Lisa Williams, Dr. Sarah Radcliffe, Dr. Jesse Bergman

Dr. Sarah Ratcliffe presented on “What supports workplace disability inclusion? Recommendations from an umbrella review of evaluated initiatives”, another arm of research recently completed to inform the Diversity in STEM Review. Sarah synthesised evidence from 2,866 academic reviews on the outcomes of a range of initiatives to support people with disabilities in the workplace. This evidence-base guided the formation of recommendations for improving participation, retention, and progression of people with disabilities in the workforce. Initiatives in her review ranged from focused efforts at the employee level to broader structural-level initiatives. Sarah highlighted the importance of taking an intersectional approach to workplace equity initiatives in the future.

A/Prof Lisa Williams presented on behalf of Dr. Jessica Stanley from the University of New South Wales (UNSW), on “Empirical evaluation of a career development and outreach program for women postgraduate and early career scientists”. The talk provided an overview of the evaluation to date of the UNSW Women in Maths and Science Champions program. The focus of the program is to address gender disparities by empowering women research students and early career scientists through professional development and outreach activities. This program and its evaluation represent an excellent, real-life example of many of the recommendations made in Dr. Ratcliffe and Dr. Bergman’s talks: collaborative design and ongoing evaluation using multiple data sources.

Overall, the conference provided a unique opportunity to discuss the team’s research with a broad audience, both in formal and informal settings. Alongside other presentations around barriers and backlash to equality in the workplace, the team was able to deepen their understanding of the challenges hindering workplace equity and inclusion and further inform their research on how to best address these issues.