Leading the way to a more equitable future

Monday, 25 February 2019


The University has been named an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality for the fifth consecutive year by the Workplace for Gender Equality Agency (WGEA).

WGEA Employer of Choice for Gender EqualityThe institution’s focus on gender equality has intensified over the past five years, particularly with regard to the under-representation of women at senior levels of academia. In 2014, women represented only 23 per cent of Level E academics (professors), which was below sector average. Thanks to a range of initiatives under the Senior Academic Women Strategy, that number has grown to 30 per cent in 2018 and the organisation now sits above the sector average.

“This is the result of an enduring commitment and shared focus. It manifestly changes the landscape for female academics in the earlier stages of their careers as well as for our female students,” University of Newcastle Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alex Zelinsky AO, said.

“As educators of the next generation, we take our leadership role seriously and will continue to champion gender balance for a better future,” he said.

In 2014, the University of Newcastle was one of only 76 organisations across Australia to receive the Agency’s citation in its inaugural year. In 2018-19 the number of accredited organisations has grown to 140 - of which only 20 are education and training institutions.

“We are very pleased to see the number of organisations recognised for their commitment to workplace gender equality almost double in five years. It sends a strong signal that change is accelerating,” Professor Zelinsky said.

WGEA Director Libby Lyons said WGEA Employer of Choice for Gender Equality citation provided a rigorous and sophisticated roadmap to guide employers along the path to gender equality.

“Every employer committed to gender equality embarks on their own unique journey,” Ms Lyons said.

“All 2018-19 EOCGE citation holders are united by their determination and commitment to achieving workplace gender equality. I congratulate all of these organisations for being agents of change, leading the way forward for other Australian employers to follow.”

In late 2018, the University of Newcastle was among the first 15 Australian research institutions to achieve the coveted Athena SWAN Bronze Award. This followed a two-year pilot to understand and develop strategies to address the under-representation of women in STEMM disciplines, particularly at senior levels.

As part of the four year action plan, the University appointed Professor Billie Bonevski to the newly formed Women in STEMM Chair role. Professor Bonevski will work closely with five new Assistant Deans – Equity, Diversity & Inclusion to oversee the implementation of equity initiatives.