Diversity and Inclusion at QAAFI

QAAFI values the contribution of our staff and students from around the world, who undertake high impact science in tropical agriculture and food production. To support diversity and inclusion across QAAFI’s operations, a Diversity and Inclusion Committee has been established​.

Diversity and Inclusion Committee aims to:

  • Develop and implement diversity and inclusion goals, strategies and targets with the aim of implementing best practice in QAAFI
  • Monitor the ongoing success of these initiatives and identify impediments to progress 
  • Provide a forum for broad discussion and consultation around diversity and inclusion at QAAFI
  • Contribute to the communication and reinforcement of shared values around diversity and inclusion to support a culture of inclusiveness at QAAFI
  • Raise awareness for issues pertaining to diversity and inclusion through seminars and other relevant events
  • Make recommendations to the QAAFI Management Team on issues relating to diversity and inclusion for staff and students at QAAFI
  • Work in partnership with other diversity and inclusion support groups across the University to share best practice, and ensure alignment with University-wide initiative

If you have any items that you would like addressed at a QAAFI Diversity and Inclusion Committee meeting, or would like to submit any feedback, please contact qdic@uq.edu.au

The SAGE Athena SWAN Program

The Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) Athena Science Women’s Academic Network (SWAN) charter aims to improve gender equity in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, medicine (STEMM) disciplines in higher education and research institutions.

The University of Queensland is proud to be a Bronze Institutional Award level participant in the SAGE Athena SWAN program, a charter for research organisations that is improving gender equity in the science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM) disciplines all over the world.

UQ is a proud recipient of the Bronze Institutional Award of the SAGE Pilot of Athena SWAN.
More info


As part of UQ’s Bronze Institutional Award accreditation, we must implement a 36-point gender action plan between 2019 and 2024.

Note: due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on University activity, SAGE has awarded all participating institutions a 12-month extension to implement their plans. 

A Gender Steering Committee (GSC) is overseeing this action plan implementation.

View the action plan

UQ’s Gender Steering Committee was formed to implement our SAGE Athena SWAN Action Plan as we progress towards Silver accreditation.

The GSC champions strategic and transparent governance, accountability, planning and a reporting framework for gender equity, which reflects UQ’s commitment to broader diversity and inclusion.

The GSC comprises representatives from across UQ, including staff (academic and professional) and students, who bring diverse experience from different roles, career stages, work arrangements, and personal backgrounds.

The GSC aims to reflect the diversity of our UQ community, and represents a gender balance of 43%.

UQ staff and students can access the following information:

GSC Terms of Reference GSC definition of STEMM

Many high-profile conferences, events, task forces and media outlets lack gender balance, despite there often being no shortage of qualified women to contribute.

To help address this, the Panel Pledge initiative encourages academics and professionals to commit to requesting gender equity as a condition of participation on any panel or conference.

The concept was originally developed through a partnership between Women’s Leadership Institute AustraliaMale Champions of Change and Chief Executive Women.

At UQ, we have tailored this to create an initiative known as The Merle Pledge.

The Merle Pledge is an effort to substantially improve women’s representation in public and professional forums.

We encourage academics and professional staff from all backgrounds and genders to take the pledge, and join the worldwide movement to advance gender equity in academia and other occupations.

Take the pledge – UQ staff  Take the pledge – non-UQ 

The Women Finding Success podcast is an initiative of the SAGE Athena SWAN Project at The University of Queensland (UQ) in Brisbane, Australia.

Each episode of the series features inspiring interviews from women who have found success in academic and professional roles at UQ. These women are resilient, smart, proactive, and, more importantly, they’re now working together to implement systemic changes to the University’s culture.

Their goal is to make career progression in all fields more achievable for women.

Listen in weekly to be inspired to break down barriers and challenge expectations.

The series will launch on 8 March 2021 – International Women’s Day – as a timely celebration and reminder of the amazing things women can achieve.

This podcast is produced by UQ Library’s Scholarly Soup podcast team.

More Info

UQ value and are committed to the diversity of gender, sex, and sexuality among our staff, as demonstrated in the UQ Strategic Plan.

Our initiatives include:

Learn more about workplace diversity and inclusion at UQ

A number of research and resources are available to inform the development of evidence-based diversity and inclusion initiatives at UQ, QAAFI and in your organisational unit.

Reconciliation Action Plan

  • UQ Reconciliation Action Plan
    As an inclusive UQ, we aspire to acknowledge that the participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples – and inclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledges and perspectives – in higher education is meaningful and important for all members of the UQ community.

SAGE and Athena SWAN resources UQ Reconciliation Action Plan 

Women in STEM decadal plan

Academic career path

Performance relative to opportunity

Business case for gender equity and leadership

Gender pay equity

  • The Gender Pay Gap – WGEA
    The Workplace Gender Equality Agency analyses and contextualises the gender pay gap in Australia.
  • The gender pay gap calculator – WGEA
    The Workplace Gender Equality Agency provides this tool to identify and analyse the causes of the various types of organisational gender pay gaps.
  • "Tracking pay equity: The impact of regulatory change on the dissemination and sustainability of equal remuneration decisions"
    This paper provides valuable insights into the impact of regulatory change in addressing gender pay equity.
  • The UQ pay equity guide  (PDF, 662.5 KB)
    Equal pay for equal work. A phrase we have all heard, and a phrase, despite the best intentions of many, that has been consistently overlooked by institutions, leaders and managers, and employees themselves.

    We understand that pay inequity is a complex ground, and that’s why we have created this guide. To help explain to the UQ community about the gender pay gap, its causes and the benefits we will receive if we work towards achieving gender pay equity in our work areas, and academia as a whole.

    For leaders and managers: this guide provides actionable suggestions to ensure you are an inclusive leader and help employees that seek to achieve gender pay equity. Key steps include: liaising with your Human Resources team to begin the process, devising an internal strategy to tackle pay inequity through the help of a pay audit, and annual performance and pay reviews. Another key consideration in today’s world is the impact, challenges and opportunities that flexible work provides for reinforcing pay equity and challenging gendered stereotypes at the same time.

    For UQ staff: this guide outlines key steps you can take to begin exploring opportunities where they present themselves to have a positive impact on pay equity. While this needs to be enabled by institutions, it is never too early for you to begin informing yourself about this journey.

  • UQ negotiation guide (PDF, 159 KB)
    We all know the role of negotiation skills. Whether it’s to make a sales pitch or apply for a research grant – good negotiation skills play a crucial role. They play an even more crucial role in one’s own career development.

    Research demonstrates that gender impacts negotiation styles, outcomes and even women’s desire to engage in negotiations for personal gains.

    This guide has been created by the Gender Steering Committee under the auspices of the UQ SAGE Athena SWAN program.

    For leaders and managers: it highlights the role you play to enable an equitable workplace. It does this by providing action items which foster an environment that abandons gendered expectations and stereotypes, and puts the focus on an employee’s growth and performance.

    For UQ staff: it provides tangible opportunities, especially for women, to start their negotiation journey for their own career progression and remuneration outcomes. We know it is not an easy journey, burdened with so many social gendered biases, but this guide is a great place to start!

Quotas and targets

Parental leave


Unconscious Bias

Other useful resources

  • Mum, PhD (online community) Mum, PhD is an online community to connect and support women combining academia and motherhood (now or in the future).

Women in Agricultural Research

The Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI) is showcasing incredible female scientists. Science and gender equality are both vital for the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Over the past 15 years, the global community has made a lot of effort in inspiring and engaging women and girls in science. UQ is actively working to lead the way, inspiring young women to become active in science and help build a better world.

Emma Mace discusses creating careers in agriculture

QAAFI’s Dr Emma Mace discusses the exciting STEM careers available in agriculture, and the challenge of attracting a diverse range of students from different science disciplines to meet the challenge of producing more food from less resources to feed and nourish the world. Dr Mace’s work at the Hermitage Research Centre at Warwick is being underwritten by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which also has a very clear focus on the role of women in agriculture – having recently described poverty and access to food as issues that disproportionately hit women hardest.

QAAFI’s Dr Barbara George-Jaeggli writes about the importance of a good support network, and the changes needed in STEM careers so parents don't have to choose between career and caring.

QAAFI Diversity and Inclusion news

  • In this episode of the Women Finding Success podcast, UQ's Professor Neena Mitter talks about her journey and career as a researcher from Delhi to Australia, her respect for food and agriculture, and the impact her research has on sustainable solutions for food supply and crop protection.
  • The Illuminata podcast series is produced by QAAFI PhD students Charlotte Rambla and Emily Mantilla.  The series highlights the important role women in agriculture play as part of the STEM community. Interviews share real life stories about women working from the University of Queensland and how they are making an extraordinary difference to agriculture and food research. 
  • Women in Science is a podcast series featuring interviews with inspiring researchers who are breaking barriers in their fields and making remarkable contributions to science.

    The University of Queensland’s Dr Kirsty Short chats to them about the science they love and their unique journeys as scientists.
  • An Indigenous fruit which is one of the earliest known plant foods eaten in Australia could be the next big thing in the bush foods industry.
    The University of Queensland research team is led by bush foods researcher Associate Professor Yasmina Sultanbawa, who said the green plum not only tasted delicious but contained one of the highest known folate levels of any fruit on the commercial market.
  • QAAFI PhD student Selina Fyfe shares her experience visiting the Gove community in East Arnhem land as part of her involvement with the ARC Training Centre for Uniquely Australian Foods.
  • Blog post by Shannon Landmark on being awarded the Zanda McDonald Award, Less than 24 hours later she was driving to the hospital to give birth to her son Fred.
  • In this presentation, Dr Heather Smyth discusses her work researching the human sensory experience of Australian foods, finding new pathways for adding distinctive Australian qualities to our home-grown food and beverage products.
  • Global leader in agricultural biotechnology wins Australia India Science, Research & Development Award 2019 at the 2019 India Australia Business & Community (IABC) Awards.
  • Shannon Landmark, joint winner of the 2019 award considers herself lucky not to have a 9 to 5 job every day. As coordinator of the Northern Genomics Project at the University of Queensland, her work focusses on improving genetic selection and reproductive technology, and sees her working with beef producers, beef extension officers from state governments, consultants and vets, and university researchers and scientists.


The Merle Pledge is an effort to substantially improve women’s representation in public and professional forums.

Sign the pledge