The Athena SWAN Charter was established in the UK in 2005 with 10 member institutions, expanding to a total of 159 in 2018. It has proved to be successful in transforming gender equality action with the Australian Pilot launching in 2015 hosted by the Science in Australia Gender Equity initiative (SAGE).
The Charter is based on ten key principles. ECU’s involvement in the Pilot includes a strong commitment to adopting the principles within our policies, practices, action plans and culture University-wide.
As participants in the SAGE Pilot of the Athena SWAN Charter, ECU are proud to be among the first fifteen institutions to have received an inaugural Athena SWAN Bronze Award at Parliament House in Canberra on 5 December 2018.
The Pilot currently has 45 participants including Australian universities, medical research institutes and publicly-funded research agencies across three cohorts (ECU is part of the first). The Athena SWAN Charter awards bronze, silver and gold level awards to institutions who can demonstrate increasing levels of good practice in recruiting, retaining and promoting women and gender diversity in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM).
Watch a short film by SAGE with staff from participating Pilot institutions (including ECU), outlining the value of the Athena SWAN process.
To achieve the Athena SWAN Bronze Award, ECU underwent a rigorous two year process, which involved identifying the barriers to equality and devising practices, processes and actions to address them. This included:
SAGE is an initiative formed by the Australian Academy of Science and in partnership with the Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE). It is deeply committed to supporting the hiring, promotion, participation and retention of women in science, engineering, technology, mathematics and medicine (STEMM). This includes the driving of gender parity in science leadership. Women comprise more than half of science PhD graduates and early career researchers, but just 17% of senior academics in Australian universities and research institutes. The loss of women scientists is a significant waste of expertise, talent and investment, and negatively impacts our nation’s scientific productivity.
Academic staff working in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) areas at ECU comprises 33% female academic staff at Level D and E, compared to 64% female representation at Level B. ECU’s work to embed the Athena SWAN charter will drive increases of female participation and gender equality across all levels within STEMM disciplines.
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