UTS Vice-Chancellor, Professor Attila Brungs:
UTS approaches gender equity as part of our broader inclusiveness and diversity programs at UTS.
In fact, it’s built into all of our core strategies: teaching and learning, research, external engagement, community engagement.
We’ve actually had quite a lot of success. At UTS, we have about a third of our professors are women. Similarly, we’ve been the Workplace Gender Equality Agency’s employer of choice every single year, with only three other universities, since its inception.
But until we see at least equal representation, equal promotion etcetera, we have a long way to go. There are a number of things we’re doing, particularly in the research space, providing transitions for people to come back to work after parental leave or carer’s leave looking after young families. How do people keep their research programs going, looking after PhD students, keeping the plants alive in your labs while being able to take the amount of leave that you need to make sure that you’re looking after your family as well as your career?
The second thing – this is unconscious bias. All of us have it. It’s how humans survive, having unconscious biases. But it’s how we recognise these biases, how we operate in the workplace, how we model our behaviour, that is just as critical as the structural changes to making sure we can really, truly aspire to have a proper, diverse, inclusive and gender-balanced workplace.
UTS is one of the first universities in Australia going for the Athena Swan bronze award around gender equity, and I’ve been absolutely delighted at the engagement, enthusiasm, right across campus from staff, and actually some students, getting involved in and preparing for the qualification under the Athena Swan bronze award.
At UTS, we pride ourselves on our flexibility and our creativity, and these are actually two key attributes to driving towards a more diverse workforce. Flexibility is absolutely key to making this happen. I’m the father of two kids – a daughter and a son. And I cannot conceive that in this time, in Australia, my daughter would have any less opportunity in her career, any less happiness in her life, because of her gender. Now why on earth would I let that happen at UTS?