Pledge to drive gender equality journey in higher education

Monday, 3 December 2018

In a progressive move to expedite the journey to equality in the workplace, the University of Newcastle has introduced a Gender Equality Leadership Pledge, inviting all staff to support the initiative.

Professor Deb Hodgson

Announced by Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alex Zelinsky AO and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Professor Deborah Hodgson, the University of Newcastle Gender Equality Leadership Pledge seeks support from the University community to drive a more equitable future for all.

The pledge is a commitment to three things – to make gender equality a priority in the workplace; lead by example by being a positive role model for all; and commit to improving gender balance on speaker panels.

Professor Zelinsky said the University was proud to be at the forefront of gender equality in the workplace, but as the University’s Workforce Gender Equity Plan outlined, there was more to be done.

“The University of Newcastle has the potential, and the desire to drive real and much-needed change in society’s expectations, and it is the right time to call for continued and committed focus on an equitable future,” Professor Zelinsky said.

“In the interest of equality not just at our University, but across the sector and society more broadly, we are proud to be a strong voice calling for everyone to make gender equality a priority; and we are focused on achieving gender equality across all levels, disciplines and professional areas.”

As a senior leader of the University, Professor Hodgson said advancing gender equality demanded active, committed and visible leadership; and the pledge was one way for people to demonstrate their support for gender equality in the workforce.

“It is our responsibility to role model behaviour to affect real change,” Professor Hodgson said.

“Making a commitment to gender balance on panels and at conferences is an important step. If we are serious about wanting everyone to have a role model, then we need to ensure there are women and men on the stage or behind the microphones making a meaningful contribution at every event,” Professor Hodgson said.

Earlier this month the University appointed Professor Billie Bonevski as its inaugural Women in STEMM Chair to provide leadership and a voice for the institution’s gender equity action plan.

Professor Bonevski will play a key role in leading the initiatives outlined in the University’s Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) Athena SWAN (Scientific Women’s Academic Network) submission for bronze accreditation.

The bronze accreditation level provides a platform for greatly improving gender equity over a four-year period.  The outcome of the submission will be announced in December.

More information:

Gender Equality Leadership Pledge -

SAGE Athena SWAN Pilot –

Meet our Women in STEMM Chair, Professor Billie Bonevski -

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The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.