Christina LeeYour name and position?
Christina Lee, Associate Dean (Research), Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences.

What have been your key career achievements?
Being part of the research team that has conducted the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health since 1996. This involves a series of surveys of the health and well-being of tens of thousands of Australian women, followed since 1996, which are linked to Medicare and PBS data and enable us to examine the trajectories of women’s lives and the health and illness that goes with these trajectories. The project is funded by the Australian Department of Health and we provide analysis and information to underpin policy decisions – most notably our evidence formed the basis of the current Australian Women’s Health Policy. The opportunity to work on this project, collaborate with dozens of like-minded researchers, and conduct research on issues of concern to women of all ages (including our new cohorts of millennials) has been a major highlight of my career.

Have you faced any barriers as a woman?
When I did my PhD in Psychology at Adelaide there was only one woman academic in the School, and there were no female professors at the university at all. There had never been a female professor of psychology anywhere in Australia. Legislation that employers had to use the same pay scales for women and men was very new (previously there were formal women’s rates and men’s rates for the same jobs). Whether maternity leave (unpaid, of course) was a good idea was being hotly debated. It was still legal to discriminate against women on the basis of their gender. So, yes.

What areas are you particularly passionate about that you would like to see change for women in the future?
I don’t know where to start…

Can you suggest how young women, at any stage of their career or study, can overcome barriers and progress towards gender parity?
We need to get past the idea that fixing inequality is (young) women’s responsibility. It is people in positions of power who can change the system. While we are waiting, though, young women should call out inequity wherever they see it, and everyone else should shut up and listen to them. 

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