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Gender equality

Gender equality

As the only university in Australia named after a woman, Edith Dircksey Cowan, at ECU we are deeply passionate and committed to achieving gender equality as an educator and employer. We believe universities have a crucial role in creating a relevant and responsive workforce which is able to meet, if not subvert, global challenges by removing the gender barriers faced by aspiring researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs. Not only does this recognise basic human rights, it improves our ability to develop organisational sustainability and national and global economic growth.

The ECU Strategic Plan 2017 – 2021 World Ready sets the direction and identifies ECU’s strong commitment to promoting equality, diversity, and social responsibility as a key strategic priority which we are implementing through our ECU Gender Equality Strategy 2019-2021. This Strategy captures our overall vision for gender equality and outlines our goals, actions and indicators of success.

Athena SWAN

As one of the first 15 Australian institutions to receive an inaugural Athena SWAN Bronze Institutional Award, ECU is proactively redressing gender inequalities and improving education and opportunities for women, particularly in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM).

Development hub

At ECU, we pride ourselves on being inclusive, flexible and relevant to the real world. We celebrate the gender diversity and talent of ECU staff by offering dedicated support schemes to remove obstacles and enable career development and progression.

Our stories

Mahbuba Rakhi

Rakhi is currently an engineering student and vice-president of the Women in Engineering at ECU.

Mahbuba Rakhi

Alecka Miles

ECU Athena SWAN Advancement Scheme Award recipient Alecka Miles talks about her new role as Course Coordinator for the Master of Paramedic Practitioner and returning back to work after parental breaks.

Alecka Miles

Dr Michelle Ellis working with two women in a computer lab

Dr Michelle Ellis discusses inspiring high school students into STEMM areas and how being an Edith Cowan Athena SWAN Advancement Scheme recipient has assisted her work.

Dr Michelle Ellis

WGEA Employer of Choice for Gender Equality

ECU has achieved the Citation as an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) for the fifth consecutive year. The citation recognises our long-standing commitment to creating an inclusive culture in which female staff participate equally at all levels.

Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings

ECU has been ranked in the top 4% of universities in the world for Gender Equality in the Times Higher Education (THE) University Impact Rankings in 2020. As a socially responsible organisation, we are exemplars in our community for sustainable practices. We are recognised for our work to redress inequalities through our commitment to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


Professor Cobie Rudd, Ms Libby Lyons, the Honourable Kerry Sanderson AC CVO, the Honourable Simone McGurk MLA, Professor Steve Chapman CBE

Edith Cowan Memorial Lecture 2021 - 'Choose to Challenge'

Tuesday, 16 March 2021

ECU's thirteenth annual lecture to mark International Women's Day commenced with an address from the Honourable Simone McGurk MLA, Minister for Child Protection; Women's Interests; Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence and Community Services followed by a keynote presentationn by Libby Lyons, Director of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA).


ECU recognised by WGEA as leaders in workplace gender equality

Tuesday, 02 March 2021

ECU has been named a Workplace Gender Equality Agency Employer of Choice for Gender Equality for the fifth year in a row.

Women in Science seeking awards

UAEW publishes new resource supporting women in applying for awards

Wednesday, 17 February 2021

The Universities Australia Executive Women  Group, has published a resource designed to redress gender inequality in the awards system through supporting the increase in women being nominated for and receiving awards.



Mentors and Sponsors (How Academic Women Can Help Each Other)

Wednesday, 21 April 2021, Microsoft Teams Event

This webinar will have a gender strategist and two female Australian Research Council Laureate Fellows, to reflect on being a positive mentor and sponsor of other women, including how to seek this sort of support and how to provide it.

Participants will have the opportunity to virtually share tips with each other, and ask the guests questions.


ECU Lecture series: Understanding the capability of women in sport

Friday, 23 April, Joondalup Campus, 3.45pm - 5.00pm

Professor Sophia Nimphius will examine the rise of women in sport and present a different approach to interpreting the research on female athletes.


Girls Programming Network

Saturday, 8 May 2021

ECU is hosting the latest Girls' Programming Network (GPN) workshop event that will see girls teaching other girls how to code.

The GPN is a program developed and run by girls for girls. GPN is a unique opportunity to make friends, meet people who have similar interests, and learn about the tech industry.

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