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In Australia and internationally, women are under-represented in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine-Health (STEMM) - both in industry and academia. Research shows that this is particularly pronounced at senior leadership levels.
Creating more gender-inclusive cultures and working to address gendered inequities in employment are central to the UTS vision and strategic direction. UTS is acknowledged as a leading higher education organisation in promoting gender equity and providing an inclusive work and study environment.
We are one of only three Australian universities to have been consistently recognised as a Gender Equality Agency Employer of Choice since the inception of the award. Of the 46 institutions responding to a National Health and Medical Research Council survey of gender policies in 2014 year, UTS was one of only two organisations rated as outstanding in providing support for gender equity
UTS is working to build on past efforts to address barriers affecting gender equity and build towards cultural and representative parity. Adopting the Athena SWAN charter and participating in the SAGE pilot is a key part of creating a plan to move this work forward.
The Athena SWAN Charter is a gender equity program recognising and celebrating good practice to boost gender equity in STEMM areas. The Athena SWAN charter in Australia is a pilot of Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE), under the auspices of the Academy of Science. At its launch in September 2015 at Parliament House, 32 institutions, including 25 universities signed up for the pilot program. 20 institutions, including UTS, have signed up for the first cohort, with a complete application due in January 2018. A further 20 institutions are part of a second cohort commencing September 2016, including 8 new institutions joining June 2016.
The original UK Athena SWAN Charter brought together the Athena Project, led by women academics, and the Scientific Women’s Academic Network (SWAN), which had worked to establish a national charter for gender equity. Beginning in 2005 the Vice-Chancellors of 10 UK universities pledged to uphold the Athena SWAN principles to act against gender inequity. Membership has since grown to 137 institutions.
Applying for an Athena SWAN Bronze Award requires organisations to
- Create and analyse a gender profile of the organisation, identify key points of career pipeline attrition, requiring specific intervention.
- Create a four year action plan to address these issues.
- Demonstrate senior-level support to implement this plan, and regularly report back on its progress.
Athena SWAN was officially launched at UTS in November 2015. Guest speaker Dr Zuleyka Zevallos, the SAGE (Science Australia Gender Equity) Project Manager, joined us for the launch.
UTS has formed a Self-Assessment Team (SAT) to progress its application for a Bronze Award. Convened by Professor Elizabeth Sullivan, its role is to:
- Collect and analyse workplace data across UTS
- Identify key gender equity issues and opportunities for improvement
- Develop a four-year action plan to address them
- Submit an application for the Athena SWAN institutional Bronze Award
- Monitor progress on the action plan.
Members of the SAT are also part of two project working groups, to collect and analyse workplace data, and communicate with and engage the UTS community around the Athena SWAN program.
Learn more about the Self Assessment Team and find your faculty representative.