New figures reveal the Palaszczuk Government’s unique Women’s Research Assistance Program (WRAP) has supported 180 female academics to continue their research during times of need – like during maternity and adoption leave.
Innovation Minister Kate Jones said the data released on International Women’s Day about the government’s WRAP program proved Queensland was leading Australia when it came to supporting women to have a successful career.
“We’re committed to funding this program long into the future to ensure women are strongly represented in senior research roles throughout Queensland universities,” she said.
Ms Jones said the WRAP program, previously known as the Advance Queensland Women’s Academic Fund, allows female researchers to apply for funding of up to $26,000 to maintain their research during periods of maternity or adoption leave.
“The support via WRAP will enable women to maintain and develop their research during one of the most critical parts of their career, by supporting the funding of a research assistant to allow for continuation of their work,” she said.
“We have incredible women throughout the state who are involved in ground-breaking research in sectors spanning science, arts, education, technology and health.
“We want women to know we value their contribution and that we are looking to ensure the momentum of their research continues.
“There is a long way to go to ensure equity in research, but we know this program is one step closer towards narrowing the gap.”
Ms Jones said the Palaszczuk Government boasted more female Cabinet Ministers than any other government in Queensland’s history.
“We’re committed to equality in the workplace. We believe it’s important to support women to have successful careers as academics at our universities – that’s what this program is all about,” she said.
“In stark contrast, the Federal Government can’t even seem to support females in their own party. Instead, they’re focused on cutting billions of dollars in funding for universities.”
QUT statistics lecturer Dr Helen Thompson said her research would have been discontinued without the funding provided through the Advance Queensland initiative.
“The program was great. I knew it would be hard to return to research when I went back to work because of teaching and administrative roles that would be assigned to me,” Dr Thompson said.
“With a large component of the research completed whilst I was on leave, I was better able to conclude the project and document the outcomes of the research once I returned to work.”
In a further move to increase the representation of women in entrepreneurship, Ms Jones also welcomed the appointment of Impact Innovation Group and Advisory Board Centre to deliver part of the Advance Queensland Female Founders Program.
“The Female Founders Program is designed to catapult female entrepreneurs to success through skill development, confidence and education and we look forward to launching it later this year,” Ms Jones said.
The Women’s Research Assistance and Female Founders programs are part of the $650 million Advance Queensland initiative to transform Queensland’s economy, create jobs of the future and build Queensland’s reputation as a global innovation and investment destination.