Message from the Vice-Chancellor: new networking initiative for academic women

8 March 2013

During the past few years, there has been a significant effort by the University to become and remain an 'Employer of Choice For Women', a designation awarded by the Australian government.

We have introduced a range of measures including new policies and practices around maternity and parental leave, carers' leave, monitoring academic promotions, providing support for research development, and early career support. However we still have a way to go in ensuring that women are able to reach their full professional potential and be rewarded and promoted on equal terms with men.

For this to occur, women need the opportunity to participate in a supportive network. I am therefore pleased to launch a new University networking initiative on International Women's Day, backed by what I hope will become a significant website for academic women to connect with each other to offer their support and professional friendship. This initiative - with a key aim of developing the next generation of women leaders in research, education and higher education - extends (not replaces) the current mentoring and coaching work that is currently offered through faculties, Human Resources and the Institute for Teaching and Learning. As soon as possible, the initiative will be extended also to female professional staff.

Volunteer mentors will offer the benefits of their capability and support to their colleagues and in some cases, champion the work or sponsor them for appropriate opportunities as they emerge. Ideally, strategic networking will create a groundswell movement to increase the number of women in leadership and, at the same time, continue to strengthen a workplace culture that makes it easier for women to succeed.

I encourage you to visit the website, to submit an expression of interest as either a mentor or mentee, and to provide your feedback.

I will keenly watch how this initiative develops as it evolves with your support and feedback.

With best wishes

Michael Spence