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CSIRO thrives on innovation; innovation that is harnessed by the diversity of the minds and lived experiences brought to our greatest challenges. Fostering an inclusive culture is critical to shaping the future for our customers, all Australians and the world.

Our priority is to improve how we recruit diverse, talented people and empower them to flourish. CSIRO is currently a member of Pride in Diversity, the Australian Network on Disability, the Champions of Change Coalition (CCC) initiative, and Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) pilot program. These programs, along with our internal networks and community groups, support us to foster change within our organisation.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander contributions

We recognise that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have made and will continue to make extraordinary contributions to all aspects of Australian life including culture, economy and science. Our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) aims to achieve greater participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in our research and development agenda and activities. This participation will ensure that we benefit from the insights that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples can bring to the national challenges.

We are committed to encouraging more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to work with us, in all areas of science, research and support services. We have opportunities across a wide range of roles in human resources, administration, finance, communication, information technology, science and engineering.

Targeting gender equity

To be a truly diverse organisation we need to reflect the diversity that we see in society. However, women still hold far fewer leadership positions than men particularly in STEM fields where only 18 per cent of leadership positions are held by women. We're addressing gender equity through our work with the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) pilot and the Champions of Change Coalition (CCC) initiative as well as a Champion of the Women in STEM Decadal Science Plan.

Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE)

We have been a member of the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) pilot of the Athena SWAN program since 2015. Athena SWAN has been successfully advancing workplace gender equity and inclusiveness in science and technology organisations in the United Kingdom for over a decade.

As part of our application for the SAGE Bronze Accreditation we reviewed the representation and lived experience of our people across a range of demographics including age, gender, culture, language, disability, LGBTQI+ and Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. Where there were demographics that were underrepresented, we worked to find out why and whether there were barriers that could be removed to create a truly inclusive environment. We began implementing our 90-point SAGE Action Plan in mid-2018. In November 2018, we were awarded Athena SWAN Bronze accreditation among 14 other research institutions.

Our Action Plan for delivering a gender-inclusive workplace covers eliminating systemic and cultural barriers including identifying pay gaps, flexible leave arrangements for all our people and tackling everyday sexism.

Find out more about our flexible working arrangements program called 'Balance'.

[Sounds of typing and writing can be heard and the CSIRO logo appears on a white screen and text appears: “It starts with us”]

[Image shows a hand wiping the text and then writing and drawing, STEM, Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and a picture of two people walking on a path towards a sunrise]

Narrator: In STEM we all aspire to break new ground.

[Image shows the hand drawing a lion roaring inside a thought bubble, and then a second thought bubble showing a candle and a light bulb inside, and then three people below the first bubble]

We value courageous and divergent thinking, thinking that challenges traditional ideas but we don’t value the diversity of our thinkers in the same way.

[Image shows the hand drawing a group of people saying, “They’re different”, and pointing to a male and female standing on a laptop screen and text: Where every day]

Every day, everywhere, people are excluded and their work devalued because they’re seen as different

[Image shows the hand drawing a map of the world surrounded with the words “Howdy, “G’day”, “Bonjour” and “Kon’nichiwa”, and then a box with three gender symbols and text appears: Sexuality]

because of their sexuality, their cultural background, their primary language, or their gender.

[Image shows the hand drawing two figures tugging either end of a rope and text appears: STEM, Gender Inclusion]

In STEM we struggle with gender inclusion in particular.

[Image shows the hand drawing and Australian map and text appears on and around the map: Why… 16% STEM workforce = women, And why?]

Why is only 16 per cent of Australia’s STEM workforce women?

[Image shows the hand drawing a female walking into a lab building and a women inside a thought bubble walking out of the lab]

And why having battled their way into labs and institutions do so many women in STEM continually think about leaving?

[Image shows the hand drawing a set of balance scales with a gender sign on each side of the scale and then the hand draws a computer, a thought light bulb, and “I think” inside a speech bubble]

Because routinely women are treated differently.

[Image shows the hand drawing an eraser labelled “Everyday sexism” and then the image shows the hand plucking the eraser from the whiteboard and erasing the previous drawing

Their work, opinions and ideas are undermined and diminished by acts of everyday sexism.

[Image shows various size circles being drawn and text appears in three larger ovals: Uncomfortable, Excluded, Less than]

A multitude of little things that make women feel uncomfortable, excluded, or less than.

[Image shows a drawing on the right showing a speech bubble “Two thirds” above four women with the letters spelling “STEM” on their t-shirts, and then a man entering a doorway, and text: Ignored Excluded, Only one third]

Two-thirds of women in STEM report being ignored or excluded at work, yet only a third of men have seen it happen.

[Image shows the hand drawing an arrow from the four women and through the Exit door the man is entering]

Is there any wonder women think of leaving?

[Image shows the hand drawing a pipeline feeding into a box labelled “STEM” and then the image shows two females running out the other end]

And there’s no point banging on about increasing the pipeline of women into STEM if they don’t stay.

[Image shows the hand drawing a stack of sheets of paper labelled “Daily examples”]

There are countless daily examples of everyday sexism that…

[Beeping noise can be heard and the image changes to show a grey and then striped coloured screen and then the image changes to show the drawings on the whiteboard again]

OK enough explaining.

[Image changes to show a red crossed circle labelled “Explaining” appearing and then a stack of documents appearing in an in tray on the right]

You can read about that in the reports.

[Image shows a hand drawing a triangle linked to the word “Insults”, a man and woman, and the woman linked to coffee cups , a milk jug and an Agenda document]

We’re talking about those little jokes or remarks which are in fact insults; expecting or asking to talk to a man, not a woman, whilst still assuming she’ll pick up the coffee cups after the meeting;

[Image shows the hand drawing four men on a panel sitting at a table and then the image shows a man pushing a pram up a hill towards a sign “Carer’s Leave”]

preferring men as conference speakers or to be on committees; also making it harder or uncomfortable for men to get carer’s leave to look after the kids;

[Image shows the hand drawing three people around a meeting table with an empty fourth chair highlighted]

or just quietly asking one of your LGBTQI+ colleagues not to go that meeting with a client;

[Image shows the hand drawing a truck labelled “Everyday Acts”, the truck moving off to the right and the hand writing the word “Bias”, and then the truck appearing next to the word]

everyday acts driven by bias.

[Image shows the hand drawing faces to form into the word “Bias” and speech bubbles appear beneath the word “I don’t”, “We all do”]

Bias is something we all have. Don’t kid yourself if you think you don’t. We all do and unchecked it diminishes each one of us.

[Image shows the hand incorporating the word “Bias” in a bracketed arrow and then the hand drawing an A and B box linked with an arrow]

So, we all have a responsibility to do something about it.

[Image shows the hand drawing two hikers climbing a snow capped peak labelled “Courage, Respect, Effort” and the image shows the hikers celebrating at the top of the peak]

It’s not easy to check our biases but with courage, respect and effort we can.

[Image shows a space shuttle being drawn on the right of the peak and moving across the whiteboard and dodging space junk being as it moves]

Remember we’re hurtling through the 21st century, facing some of humanities biggest challenges.

[Image shows a slide of a slice of a “Brains Trust” pie being drawn with two question marks on the right and a dotted line joining the pie slice to a world map]

Do we seriously want a smaller, more homogenous slice of our collected brains’ trust struggling with the world’s critical dilemmas?

[Image shows the hand writing “I thought not” and then drawing a person talking into a megaphone next to a multistorey building with a highlighted person in a window at the top and text: Regularly Consistently]

We all need to call out everyday acts of sexism, regularly and consistently, especially if we’re in positions of power or privilege.

[Image shows the person dropping the megaphone and then an arrow appears linking the person in the top of the building to a glowing light bulb and a thought bubble with the word “Aha”]

Yes, we’ll make mistakes trying but we’ll learn and we’ll keep going.

[Image shows “Everyday sexism” being written inside an oval and then the image shows two hands pointing fingers towards each other in an accusatory position with text: You, You]

We’re naming everyday sexism, not to blame and shame each other,

[Image shows the hand drawing a map document and then the image shows two people walking along a road towards two mountains with a rainbow and a rising sun]

but to mark moments of change on our road to everyday inclusion.

[Image shows the camera zooming out so all the drawings can be seen at once and then a hand pulling a white screen down over the whiteboard]

[Image shows CSIRO logo and the text "Australia's national science agency]

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Champions of Change Coalition (CCC)

The Champions of Change Coalition (CCC) works with influential leaders to redefine men's role in tackling gender inequality. It activates peer groups of influential male leaders and supports them to step up beside women to accelerate change. They have committed to work together to listen, learn and lead through action. Rather than focusing on what women can do, they strive to shift the system by understanding and addressing systemic biases and barriers that limit women’s advancement. MCC recognises that gender equality benefits everyone and we all have a role to play.

Larry Marshall, our Chief Executive, is a member of the CCC STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) group which is looking at ways to increase the number of women in STEM.

LGBTIQ+ inclusion

CSIRO is a member of the Pride in Diversity program, a network of organisations leading best practice workplace LGBTQ inclusion practices. Each year we participate in the Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI) conducted by Pride in Diversity, a robust benchmarking exercise for employers across all sectors. It compares organisations across a broad range of equality metrics, including policy, culture and training.

In 2022, we were achieved a Silver Employer Status. We are proud of our achievements in maintaining high rankings in the AWEI and continue to build best-practice LGBTIQ+ inclusion into all aspects of our workplace and culture.

Our Pride@CSIRO Network

Pride@CSIRO is a professional network and social community for LGBTQI+ identifying employees and allies. The network promotes and drives the inclusion of LGBTQI+ employees by; raising awareness, supporting peers and challenging discrimination. Pride@CSIRO actively contributes to building a safe and welcoming workplace culture that celebrates the multiple aspects of diversity which form identities and experiences, so we can all bring our whole selves to work.

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