The offer of complementary tutoring sessions by the Baker Institute’s Gender Equity and Diversity Committee to assist staff with children impacted during COVID-19 lockdowns has been eagerly embraced.
The complementary tutoring sessions offered over six months with tutoring agency, Kip McGrath, aim to acknowledge the enormous impact the lockdowns have had on many Melbourne-based parents, particularly those with school-age children who were juggling home schooling and working from home.
Gender Equity and Diversity is a key platform of the Institute and the launch of the tutoring program comes on the eve of International Women’s Day on 8 March.
Co-chairs of the Gender Equity and Diversity Committee, Professor Vaughan Macefield and Associate Professor Morag Young said the challenges for researchers in particular during the past year in trying to maintain their scientific output while juggling the demands of home schooling was significant.
“The lockdowns have been tough on staff with infants and school-age children. In particular, the need to provide home schooling by parents may have left some children with gaps in their learning, through no fault of the parents trying to work from home,” they said.
“We wanted to help address some of the stress and long-term impact of this situation.”
They said many studies now acknowledged the significant impact of COVID-19 on the health and wellbeing of people, especially women.
The Baker Institute’s Gender Equity and Diversity Committee was established in 2014 primarily to address the low numbers of senior women in Australian science, and now also has a strong focus on promoting and supporting diversity across the organisation.
In 2018, the Baker Institute was one of 15 research institutes and universities recognised for its efforts to improve gender equity and diversity with an inaugural Athena SWAN Bronze Award from Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE). The Bronze level is the first SAGE award to be made available in Australia. The Institute is currently working toward an Athena SWAN Silver Award.