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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

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

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 David Rhodes

Read about Dr David Rhode's insights on supporting student diversity in regional locations, from ECU's South West campus in Bunbury.

Dr David Rhodes

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 fourth 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 sixth in the world for Gender Equality in the Times Higher Education (THE) University Impact Rankings in 2019. 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).


ECU provides a number of gender equality related resources and information to inform staff and students at the University.


Database of leading gender equity practice

Global database of leading practice initiatives developed to support gender equality at ECU

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

ECU continues to show leadership in the integration of Athena SWAN into everyday processes. A log of leading gender equity practices has been established to inform new initiatives across the University.

Group discussions at the SAGE WA Regional Network workshop

Shifting the Spectrum of Male Engagement in Gender Equity

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

An ECU team co-facilitated a workshop delivered by the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) Athena SWAN WA Regional Network at the recent Catalysing Gender Equity conference in South Australia

Women in research

ECU is increasing the number of women in the research workforce

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

A new report prepared by the Australian Research Council (ARC) provides insights that ECU is performing above the national average as the number of women in the research workforce increases.



Women in Research Workshop

You are invited to a workshop on Thursday, 5 December 2019, designed to help Australian women in their research careers. The workshop will be facilitated by Laureate Fellow, Sharon Parker, Director of The Centre of Transformative Work Design, and will feature the resources she and her team have developed for the website Women in Research.


Catalysing Gender Equity 2020

Catalysing Gender Equity 2020 - February 20 - February 21

The Australian Academy of Science, in collaboration with Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE), invites you to join us at Catalysing Gender Equity 2020, a two-day outcome-driven conference guided by the Women in STEM Decadal Plan.


2020 Edith Cowan Memorial Lecture celebrating International Women's Day

6 March 2020, ECU Joondalup Pines, Perth, Western Australia

Join ECU for their annual Edith Cowan Memorial Lecture celebrating International Women’s Day, as a panel of experts discuss the relationships between gender equality, climate justice and sustainable development. ECU’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Strategic Partnerships) Professor Cobie Rudd will moderate the panel discussion, as we consider what action is needed to create greater equality possibilities.

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