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Renae Ryan announced as Academic Director of SAGE

2 March 2017
Sydney Medical School researcher to lead gender equity program

The new appointment will see Associate Professor Ryan drive one of the University’s gender equity and diversity programs aimed at promoting women in STEMM. 

Associate Professor Renae Ryan

Associate Professor Renae Ryan (credit: Sharon Hickey)

Sydney Medical School researcher, Associate Professor Renae Ryan, has been appointed as the Academic Director of SAGE (Science in Australia Gender Equity). The SAGE pilot program is one of a number of initiatives implemented as part of the University’s commitment to gender equity and equality in education.

Launched at the University in August 2016, SAGE is a pilot program of the successful UK-based Athena SWAN program, which promotes gender equity and diversity in STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine).

The Australian program is a partnership between the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering to assess gender equality policies and practices and help organisations establish ways to promote and retain women and gender minorities in their ranks. 

In her role as Academic Director of SAGE, Associate Professor Ryan will analyse and present data on gender equity policies and practices in STEMM departments, identify gaps or areas in need of improvement, and co-chair the Self-Assessment Team (SAT), made up of staff and students, responsible for the application preparation for the SAGE/Athena SWAN Institutional Bronze Award due in March 2019.

“The main task of the SAT is to hold a mirror up to our institution and to make SAGE ‘business as usual’ at the University of Sydney. Being inclusive of difference should always be seen as an essential part of ‘how we work’ every day, not just the job of someone else,” said Associate Professor Ryan.

“Everyone has the power to be an advocate for diversity and inclusion, and improving gender equality is everyone’s responsibility.”
Associate Professor Renae Ryan

Associate Professor Ryan’s own research career has taken her to live and work in the USA to conduct research, before joining the University of Sydney in 2010. Now, at Sydney Medical School, she leads a research team that investigates biochemical and molecular techniques to treat a range of diseases such as chronic pain and cancer.

Though, despite her professional success she identifies the daily challenges faced by women in academia.

“For women in the workplace, unconscious bias and cultural and systemic barriers can undermine women’s contributions, career satisfaction, success, and feeling of belonging. We all need to speak up, support our colleagues, and work to ensure everyone feels included and able to fully contribute.”

“There are successful women in science and research that juggle other commitments with academia and research and are great at what they do, but we need more of them.”

“For women interested in pursuing studies across STEMM fields, I say that STEMM needs you to help solve the complex problems of today’s world. If you love science, then follow your passion, support your female colleagues and enjoy the journey.”

The Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) pilot program is one of a number of gender equity initiatives implemented as part of the University's Women's Career Acceleration and Leadership Strategy that was developed to meet the 2020 diversity and inclusion goals outlined in the University's Strategic Plan.