23 September 2019

Delighted to have achieved a Bronze Award from the Australian Academies of Science, and Technology and Engineering as part of the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) initiative, the University of South Australia says it is building on a strong track record of promoting inclusion and equity in its drive to support careers in science and technology. 

University of South Australia Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd says the SAGE project has really helped to focus the University’s efforts. 

“Undertaking the SAGE Athena SWAN accreditation process has given us a chance to look at the whole university environment and find ways through policy and practice to ensure women and men are on a level playing field when it comes to forging a successful career in STEMM,” Prof Lloyd says. 

As part of the SAGE Cohort 2 initiative in Australia, UniSA achieved the Athena SWAN Bronze Award Accreditation in September and has joined what is becoming a global movement to improve gender equity and diversity in STEMM fields in universities worldwide. 

“While SAGE is focussed on STEMM, we determined to take a whole of Institution approach in our response,” Prof Lloyd says.

“That meant we looked across the board, not only at policies, but at processes and practices to see how they fit together to either help or hinder the goal of gender equity, giving us a full picture of the kinds of improvements that research shows, will have an impact. 

“We are deeply committed to growing a diverse workforce and strengthening a culture where talent thrives, difference is valued, and individuals are respected for their unique contribution.” 

UniSA’s progress towards these goals in the past five years has been institution-wide – from the launch of a $2 million international female fellowship program in engineering supported by UniSA with University College London and Santos, to the appointment of the University’s first female Chancellor in 2018 and the rebalancing its senior management team to ensure gender equity. 

In the past three years success rates for women in STEMM applying for promotion have consistently been at 75 per cent or more. 

Recognising that in having children, women need additional support to keep their careers on track, the University piloted a scheme to help women to stay in touch with their research while on maternity leave with grants to pay for services that support them to attend conferences, seminars and workshops. 

Other initiatives include a day of leave per month for the last six months of pregnancy, options for a phased in return to work after maternity leave, and up to 10 “keeping in touch” days during maternity leave. 

Prof Lloyd says earning the Athena SWAN Bronze Award is an important part of the journey towards building a truly inclusive workplace. 

“UniSA has at its heart a commitment to equity that encompasses gender equity but also equity for our First Nations people and for all people who have been disadvantaged,” Prof Lloyd says. 

“Our goal is to break down barriers and to make what seemed impossible, possible – for our students and especially for our staff. 

“Our commitment to pursuing gender equity in all levels of our workforce will continue as we implement our Bronze action plan and, reflecting UniSA’s vision and values, progress our ambition to achieve SAGE Athena SWAN Gold accreditation.” 

UniSA media contact:Michèle Nardelli phone: +61 418 823 673 or +61 8 8302 0966 email: michele.nardelli@unisa.edu.au



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