We are proud to be among the first 15 Australian research institutions to receive the Bronze Award under the Athena SWAN Charter.Athena SWAN Bronze Award logo

During the two year pilot, led by Professor Deb Hodgson and Equity & Diversity Manager Rachel Fowell, a Self-Assessment Team consulted broadly with academics, staff and students to identify gaps between policy and practice and detect gender and diversity issues within the organisation.

The SAGE journey has been one of deep self-reflection and analysis. The Bronze Award recognises significant effort and commitment, but reversing inequity is the ultimate goal.

Video: What is SAGE? Driving gender equity in Australian science
Video: SAGE Awards

Bronze Award

The detailed report and four-year action plan to address the issues identified was submitted in March 2018.

We have more than 80 actions in our four-year plan, such as the establishment of key leadership roles, including the inaugural Women in STEMM Chair and five new Assistant Deans Equity and Diversity roles.

Other initiatives include the setting of KPIs for STEMM faculties where greatest under-representation of women exists; ongoing funding for Women in Research Fellowships; and the engagement of leaders and staff through promotion of the Gender Equality Leadership Pledge.

The significance of this award is profound as it recognises a commitment to being inclusive and equitable – characteristics that are at the core of this institution.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alex Zelinsky AO

Award Presentation

The Bronze Awards were presented at the Gala Dinner of the SAGE Symposium at the Great Hall, Parliament House on Wednesday 5 December 2018.

Our Award was accepted by Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alex Zelinsky and Chair of the Self-Assessment Team, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research & Innovation), Professor Deb Hodgson. Former Vice-Chancellor, Professor Caroline McMillen, who had been a key driver in our involvement in the first round of the SAGE pilot, was also at the event in her capacity as South Australian Chief Scientist.

Athena SWAN principles

As an Athena SWAN member, we are committing to a progressive charter and ten key principles which we will adopt within our policies, practices, action plans and culture.

  1. We acknowledge that academia cannot reach its full potential unless it can benefit from the talents of all.
  2. We commit to advancing gender equality in academia, in particular addressing the loss of women across the career pipeline and the absence of women from senior academic, professional and support roles.
  3. We commit to addressing unequal gender representation across academic disciplines and professional and support functions. In this we recognise disciplinary differences including
    • the particularly high loss rate of women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM).
  4. We commit to tackling the gender pay gap.
  5. We commit to removing the obstacles faced by women, in particular, at major points of career development and progression including the transition from PhD into a sustainable academic career.
  6. We commit to addressing the negative consequences of using short-term contracts for the retention and progression of staff in academia, particularly women.
  7. We commit to tackling the discriminatory treatment often experienced by transgender people.
  8. We acknowledge that advancing gender equality demands commitment and action from all levels of the organisation and in particular active leadership from those in senior roles.
  9. We commit to making and mainstreaming sustainable structural and cultural changes to advance gender equality, recognising that initiatives and actions that support individuals alone will not sufficiently advance equality.
  10. All individuals have identities shaped by several different factors. We commit to considering the intersection of gender and other factors wherever possible.

About the SAGE Pilot

As per the Athena SWAN accreditation program, in 2016 a Self Assessment Team (SAT) consisting of academic and professional staff and students was established at the University of Newcastle and spent two years collecting and analysing data to identify gender and diversity issues within the organisation. In March 2018, the team submitted an application for Bronze Accreditation.

More about the Athena SWAN Charter