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Today, 8 March is International Women’s Day, a celebration of the social, cultural and other achievements of women. This year’s theme, ‘Pledge for Parity’, is encouraging people across the world to be aware of and take action to achieve gender parity.

A quick poll around the office showed that at Sydney University Press we feel we do a good job in regards to gender parity – indeed, a few of us thought that perhaps our women authors outnumbered the men! I can never resist a good spreadsheet, so I decided to crunch the numbers. What way do the gender equality scales tip at this scholarly publisher?

I happily discovered that our recent books have been predominantly written or edited by women. Of our authors and editors of books released in 2015 – that is, those named on the cover – six are men and nine are female. There were also 82 individual contributors to our edited collections last year, of whom 57% are female. Of books that were not edited collections, two were sole-authored by men, one was sole-authored by a woman, and one was co-authored by two women. Also, in each of our edited collections, at least one woman was a co-editor.

While this is certainly great news for the press and for our authors and editors, these statistics are not meant to be self-congratulatory. We are proud to ensure that women academics and scholars not only at this University but throughout Australia and the world are contributing their expertise and skills to advance the collective knowledge of humankind. Our authors and editors are proof that women and men equally are capable of the rigorous research and high-quality writing process required to be published in the modern scholarly landscape.

Yet in 2015, women held 44% of Senior Lecturer positions and just 31% of ‘above Senior Lecturer’ positions at Australian universities. It’s clear that the status quo needs to change to remedy this situation.

Gender parity in research positions may yet be a few years off, but in the meantime Sydney University Press are honoured to work with so many brilliant and hardworking women. Our hope is that we can not only continue to achieve our modest goals of gender parity, but can show this and future generations of women scholars that the larger goals of equality in academia are well within reach.

For, by and about women

Reading Aboriginal women’s life stories, by Anne Brewster
From the 1970s, a wave of autobiographical narratives from Aboriginal women writers have shaped our understanding of contemporary Indigenous Australian literature. The life stories of these women reveal unique perspectives on race, gender, family and storytelling in modern Australia.

The good mother: contemporary motherhoods in Australia, edited by Susan Goodwin and Kate Huppatz
The idea of a ‘good mother’ changes according to time, fashions and context, but the concept persists in public policy, the media, popular culture and in workplaces, pressuring women to conform to universal standards. This book captures the extraordinary diversity of contemporary motherhood across Australia.

Lucy Osburn, a lady displaced: Florence Nightingale's envoy to Australia, by Judith Godden
Lucy Osburn (1836–1891) was the founder of modern nursing in Australia, and pioneered the employment of high status women in public institutions. Her triumphs and trials typify the struggles of women in colonial NSW newly entering the workforce.

Image credit: Based on Mike Licht / flickr.com / CC BY 2.0

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