Mater is bucking the gender inequity trend with an executive team that is 67 per cent female and a research institute where nine out of ten program leaders are women.
The figures, released for International Women’s Day, compare with national averages that reveal 33 per cent of women are in key management positions and less than 20 per cent are chief executive officers in businesses across Australia.
Mater Education Executive Director and Chief People and Learning Officer, Donna Bonney, said the healthcare sector has always been female-dominated, but the global pandemic had increased interest in the area and showcased the variety of career opportunities available.
“A team of Mater health practitioners have been at the forefront of Queensland’s COVID-19 response and many of those professionals are women,” she said.
“From co-founding the Queensland Health COVID-19 Vaccine Taskforce, to setting up mass vaccination clinics across the state and creating virtual hospital wards to care for the sick, Mater women have played a leading role in planning and providing care to the public throughout the global pandemic.”
Ms Bonney said Mater had a higher proportion of female employees than the national average across its health, education, research and foundation businesses with more than 7600 women working for the organisation across Queensland (79%).
Mater Chief of Mission Alanna Jacoby said Mater was founded by women more than a century ago and had maintained a strong culture of supporting and promoting women.
“The Sisters of Mercy were incredibly savvy and hard-working people,” Ms Jacoby said.
“They were the first to create a number of vital health services in Queensland, including the first hospital pathology lab which was opened during the Spanish Flu pandemic, and the first cytology department, to help detect cervical cancer.
“They pioneered medical photography and they broke down the stigma around diseases like leprosy and HIV-AIDS by researching new treatments and providing care to those who needed it.”
Mater Biomedical Research Director Allison Pettit said an innovative grant program to progress outstanding female careers in medical research will be open to applications again in 2022.
“While 90 per cent of the program leaders in Mater Research are women, we can do more to ensure women reach their full leadership potential and help correct the systemic bias that women encounter throughout their career,” she said.
“UNESCO data reveals that only 33 per cent of researchers globally are female and that women are less successful in securing research funding than men and less likely to be promoted.
“The 2022 Mater Research Strategic Grant for Outstanding Women aims to support the work of high potential female researchers at Mater by enabling them to increase their research productivity and profile to better position them for success in external funding schemes and accelerate academic promotion.”
The Mater Research Strategic Grant for Outstanding Women offers up to $45 000 per year for up to two years for successful applicants to increase research productivity, reduce administrative burden, attain key resources, increase national and international profile and enable access to professional development opportunities.
Meet some of our Mater women leading the way