Sydney Ideas: Gender, equity and diversity
We advance gender equity by promoting women in leadership and furthering women’s education.
In 1881 we became one of the first universities in the world to admit female students. By 1990 — just over a century after the first woman graduated — women students outnumbered men for the first time in our history, with 15,000 women enrolled in a student body of 26,000. Women now make up well over half of our staff community – 57 percent in a total of 7500 staff (based on 2017 statistics).
These stories highlight our rich history – built on a foundation of inclusion – and our commitment to opening the doors to everyone to flourish in their educational pursuits.
As part of the University’s aim to promote gender equity in education we have gained the Bronze Award in the Athena SWAN accreditation, as part of our commitment to the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) initiative.
The SAGE program promotes gender equity and diversity in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM).
A pilot of the successful UK-based Athena SWAN program established in 2005, the Australian program is a partnership between the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering.
It assesses gender equality policies and practices, and helps organisations establish ways to promote and retain women and gender minorities in their ranks.
The program achieves its goals through an evaluation and accreditation framework carried out by dedicated members of the University’s Self Assessment Team (link below) and the SAGE Project Office who are responsible for:
The Self Assessment Team prepared the application for the SAGE/Athena SWAN Institutional Bronze Award.
Professor Renae Ryan from Sydney Medical School (Pharmacology) is the Academic Director of SAGE, and Co-Chair of the Self-Assessment Team with Associate Professor Tony Masters, Chair of the University's Academic Board.
The Vice-Chancellor, Dr Michael Spence, is the Executive Sponsor of SAGE, and the program forms part of our 2016-20 Strategic Plan.
Women share their experiences of playing leadership roles in male-dominated fields.
Female staff, students and alumna recently gathered to participate in an open discussion on the state of play for women in the workplace. Together they discussed fluctuations in female participation over time, the obvious retention problem and the societal changes needed, particularly in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM).
The group also gave honest accounts of work and study and offered advice on finding the right career, the importance of mentoring and what makes a good leader.
The SAGE Self-Assessment Team (SAT) is responsible for the submission of the University’s Bronze Award Application and meets bi-monthly. The SAT is Co-Chaired by Professor Trevor Hambley and Professor Renae Ryan, who is also the Academic Director for SAGE. The SAT includes academic staff from all STEMM Faculties and members of professional staff from HR and MarComms.
The SAT have formed working groups in four key areas:
Each SAT member is part of a working group who, together with other targeted members of staff, meet regularly to gather and analyse the University’s data and develop a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timebound) Action Plan to create the Bronze Award Application.
Working groups have each been given responsibility for areas of focus from the Bronze Application.
Associate Professor Anthony Masters, Chair of Academic Board
Professor Renae Ryan, Professor - Sydney Medical School (Pharmacology)
Sarah Abbott - Senior Manager, Diversity, Leadership and Inclusion; Talent, Organisational Development and Diversity
Chris Angwin, Marketing and Communications, Faculty of Science
Mehala Balamurali, Post-doctoral research associate, Faculty of Engineering and IT
Professor Tim Bedding, Head of School - Faculty of Science (Physics)
Dr Kim Bell-Anderson, Senior Lecturer - Faculty of Science (SOLES)
Associate Professor Kirsten Black, Associate Professor/Joint Head of Discipline - Sydney Medical School (Obstetrics and Gynaecology)
Professor Céline Boehm, Head of School – Faculty of Science (Physics)
Associate Professor Densil Cabrera, Senior Lecturer - School of Architecture, Design & Planning
Dr Elizabeth Clarke, Senior Lecturer (P/T) - Sydney Medical School (Northern Medical School)
Dr Kumi de Silva, Research Fellow (P/T) - Sydney School of Veterinary Science
Professor Alan Fekete, Professor - Faculty of Engineering & IT
Annie Fenwicke, Project Manager - Science in Australia Gender Equity Program (Office of the Vice-Chancellor & Principal)
Associate Professor Murray Fisher, Associate Professor and Acting Associate Dean (Research) - Sydney Nursing School.
Professor David Guest, Professor - Institute of Agriculture
Professor Trevor Hambley, Faculty of Science (Chemistry)
Jeremy Heathcote, Indigenous Community Engagement Officer
Associate Professor Muireann Irish, Associate Professor – School of Psychology
Meryem Joseph, Human Resources
Dr Maree Milross, Lecturer (P/T) - Faculty of Health Sciences (Physiotherapy)
Dr Kevin McGeechan, Master of Public Health Course Coordinator and Lecturer in Biostatistics Sydney Medical School (Public Health)
Dr Rachael Morton, NHMRC Early Career Fellow - Sydney Medical School (Public Health)
Associate Professor Joel Negin, Head of School - Sydney Medical School (Public Health)
Julia Newton, Head of Faculty Marketing & Communications - Marketing and Communications
Associate Professor Ky-Anh Nguyen, Associate Professor - Faculty of Dentistry (Westmead Oral Health)
Emeritus Professor Robyn Overall, Chair Women in Science - Faculty of Science (SOLES)
Dr Matt Pye, Associate Lecturer - Faculty of Science (SOLES)
Professor Jacqui Ramagge, Head of School - Faculty of Science (Mathematics & Statistics)
Dr Charmaine Tam, NHMRC Early Career Fellow - Faculty of Science (SOLES)
Dr Ben Thornber, Senior Lecturer - Faculty of Engineering & IT (Aeronautical)
Mark Try, Program Manager - Culture Strategy (Office of the Vice-Chancellor & Principal)
Michelle Villeneuve, Faculty of Health Sciences (Occupational Therapy)
Developing an understanding of where the real issues lie in supporting and advancing women’s careers at the University, including in the areas of recruitment, promotion, parental leave and workplace flexibility.
Promotion and awareness-raising, and staff engagement with the SAGE Project within the University and more broadly.
Collection, collation and analysis of the University’s gender equity and diversity data (both quantitative and qualitative) to create an honest and reflective picture of the University.
Deeply analysing and understanding the University’s culture and how this impacts on gender equity and diversity and the wellbeing of staff and how this can be influenced and changed in the future.
The SAGE Advisory Council (SAC) has been appointed to support and champion the delivery of the University's SAGE/Athena SWAN Application by providing expertise, advice and advocacy to advance gender equity and diversity across STEMM and the broader University.
The pledge was introduced as part of the broader commitment to gender diversity and equity. Adapted from the national Male Champions of Change initiative, it is supported by the University’s Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) program (see above) and consistent with our strategic aspiration to foster a culture that is built on our values.
Everyone at the University is encouraged to sign the pledge and it is especially relevant for those people whose role involves planning, sponsoring or speaking at a discussion panel, forum or other external event.
Since it was launched in October 2018, more than 250 University staff have signed the pledge and that number continues to steadily grow.
The Panel Pledge wording is as follows.
I commit to:
If you are a member of the University community and interested in signing the Panel Pledge, please contact us.
Our Women’s Career Acceleration and Leadership Strategy is designed to accelerate representation of women at all levels at the University and address several key areas:
We also hold an annual symposium – Women at Sydney: share, connect, change. Each year the symposium agenda includes inspiring talks, panel discussions and thought-provoking content presented by leaders from across the University to showcase, support and empower career success for women.
Throughout the year we will share the stories of inspirational women leaders from across the University.
Committing to gender equity and improving workplace culture