It is not true that the Australian Academy of Science, of which I am president, treats women with disdain (Nature 497, 7; 2013). The absence of women elected as fellows in 2013 is of great concern, but it is an anomaly.
Election of women to our academy has steadily increased, from just one in the 1970s to 27 since 2000. Three of our executive councillors are female, and women chair five out of 22 national committees. This year, half of our early-career awardees and one of four full-career awardees are women (see go.nature.com/avrqiy).
That said, our academy still has too few women. Part of the problem is historical and universal (see, for example, Nature 495, 21; 2013). Past policies either discriminated against women or failed to nurture their careers. The academy has urged Australian science agencies to prioritize career flexibility and has endorsed guidelines for gender equity (see go.nature.com/zi253a).
We are striving to increase the proportion of female fellows by ensuring that high-achieving women are not overlooked for nomination and that our criteria do not disadvantage them. Further measures to improve the gender balance will be considered at the academy's annual general meeting this month.