The University of Newcastle, Australia

New national initiative supports UON women in STEMM

Thursday, 17 September 2015

The University of Newcastle (UON) has been selected as one of the pilot institutions to participate in the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) Initiative – an Australian first.

The SAGE Initiative aims to achieve gender parity in science leadership in Australian universities by supporting the recruitment, promotion, participation and retention of women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM) disciplines. 

Women in science advocate and UON emerging research leader, Dr Nikola Bowden, said this was the first time the sector had made a concerted effort to work together to seek change.

"We have more than 30 years of evidence pointing to gender inequalities in the field. This is first time we have seen real action towards change," said Dr Bowden.

The SAGE Pilot will run over a two-year period, during which time UON will be required to collect, analyse and present data on gender equity policies and practices in STEMM , disciplines as well as identify gaps and opportunities for improvement.

University of Newcastle Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Caroline McMillen, said the SAGE initiative was an excellent opportunity for UON and acknowledged the University's track record of leadership in gender equity.

"We are proud to have some of the finest and most capable women scientists in Australia at the University of Newcastle and to be part of this important initiative to introduce interventions which narrow the gap in gender equity in STEMM disciplines. In 2014 we were delighted that UON was one of only 76 organisations nationwide to be cited as an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality. " said Professor McMillen.

The SAGE initiative will pilot the Athena SWAN Charter in Australian education and research institutions. The Charter, was established in 2005 under the UK's Equity Challenge Unit to encourage and recognise institutional commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine in higher education and research.

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