THE University of Newcastle’s efforts and commitment to improving gender equity and diversity has earned it a unique higher education sector award.
UON was one of 15 universities and research institutes from across the country to be named on Wednesday night as recipients of a SAGE Athena SWAN Bronze Award.
The SAGE (Science in Australia Gender Equity) program – which was adapted from the UK’s Athena SWAN (Scientific Women's Academic Network) Charter – aims to improve gender equity and diversity in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM) across the higher education and research sector.
UON created a self-assessment team of staff and students that has spent two years identifying gaps between policy and practice as well as gender and diversity issues within the organisation.
The team’s detailed report and four-year action plan to address the identified issues was submitted in March this year as part of the application for bronze accreditation.
Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research and Innovation, and team leader Professor Deb Hodgson said achieving the first level accreditation was an “historic and important milestone” in the journey to achieve gender equity.
“We should be proud of the steady progress we are making to create real change,” she said.
“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 [Professor Billie Bonevski] and five new Assistant Deans Equity and Diversity roles.”
Other ideas include setting KPIs for STEMM faculties with low representation of women and engaging leaders and staff through promotion of the newly-announced Gender Equality Leadership Pledge.