International surgeon delivers annual Diana Temple Memorial Lecture

8 May 2018
The 9th Annual Diana Temple AM Memorial Lecture was presented by Dr Caprice C. Greenberg, who gave her talk "Sticky floors and glass ceilings" about gender disparity in surgery.

Professor Renae Ryan, Academic Director of SAGE Chair, Sydney Medical School Gender Equity Committee, presenting Professor Dr Caprice Greenberg with the Diana Temple Award.

The 9th Annual Diana Temple AM Memorial Lecture took place on Friday 4 May and was presented by Dr Caprice C. Greenberg. Dr Greenberg delivered her speech, ‘Sticky floors and glass ceilings’, where she tackled the challenging topic of gender disparities in surgery.

The annual lecture honours the memory of Dr Diana Temple AM, a former member of the University of Sydney community, and an advocate for the role of women in science. Among the attendees of Friday’s lecture were Helen and Charlotte, the daughter and granddaughter of Dr Temple, as well as Professor Jennifer Byrne, a researcher who worked with Dr Temple.

Professor Byrne spoke about Dr Temple’s passion and advocacy for women in science, as well as more personal notes about her love for the environment and in particular, bushwalking. She finished with the reminder that “we are all in this together”, and that it takes collective effort to create change.

Dr Greenberg spoke for the need for a societal approach to gender equality.


In her lecture Dr Greenberg echoed this point, speaking about the need for a comprehensive approach to gender disparity, and how, by grouping some issues as “women’s issues”, it makes it hard for both men and women to advance in their careers.

“We need to stop focusing on work life balance and parenting as a women’s issue. It’s a societal issue,” she said.

Dr Greenberg's talk pulled from global research on gender equality in a number of industries and fields, as well as her personal experience, stepping through the scope of the issue, before moving on to examine how the pay-gap and societal pressures contribute to inequality.

“We have reached a critical point, as we move away from traditional gender norms. [As society changes] no one knows what the thing to do is. We have to figure it out together.”
Dr Caprice Greenberg

But it’s not all bad news. In her own hospital, gender equality is rapidly becoming a reality. Harassment is on the decline, and as a society we are much better at pointing it out when it occurs, in part thanks to high profile social media campaigns like #MeToo and Emma Watson’s #HeForShe campaign.

Dr Greenberg is a tenured professor of surgery and the Morgridge Distinguished Chair in Health Services Research at the University of Wisconsin, as well as the former president of the Association for Academic Surgery.

This year's Diana Temple Memorial lecture was jointly hosted by:

L-R: Professor Renae Ryan, Charlotte (grandaughter of Dr Temple), Dr Greenberg, Helen (daughter of Dr Temple) and Professor Byrne.

In 1961, Dr Diana Temple joined the department of Pharmacology as a Research Fellow and part-time lecturer. Dr Temple was an esteemed academic at the University of Sydney, having worked as a Senior Lecturer, Associate Professor and the Head of Department of Pharmacology. After her retirement, Dr Temple continued her involvement with the University community as Honorary Associate, Department of Pharmacology and a life member of the Sydney Medical School.

Dr Temple was also involved in the establishment of the Women in Science Enquiry Network (WiSENet), an organisation that has since merged with Women in STEMM Australia. This role saw Dr Temple actively engage, and support, women confronting challenges in their careers. 

In 1999, Dr Temple’s inspiring professional achievements and contributions were formally recognised with an appointment as the Member of the Order of Australia. This appointment is testament to her services to medical and scientific research, particularly in the field of respiratory pharmacology, as an advocate for promoting women in science, and the understanding of science by the general public.