Gender equality is about fundamental human rights and is integral to our commitment to be a world class university.
Western Sydney University has a proud record for advancing gender equality. Considerable effort has been made to increase the representation of women in leadership positions, to reduce the gender pay gap, and to promote workplace flexibility.
The University has a range of strategies and policies on gender equality, including the newly published Gender Equality Policy, the Equity and Diversity Strategic Plan, the new People Strategy Our People Securing Success, the Equal Opportunity and Diversity Policy, the Workplace Flexibility Policy and provisions in our Enterprise Agreements.
Currently over 50% of our staff and students are women, 47% of our managers are women, and we have one of the highest rates of women professors (41%) in the sector. I want to build further upon this impressive foundation. If we are to be leaders in excellence in teaching, innovation, and research, it is critical that we utilise the skills and capacities of all our staff.
To progress gender equality further we must also continue to challenge the beliefs and attitudes that are undermining progress. We must expand our focus of workplace flexibility and be more innovative and creative in how we overcome the barriers that women and gender diverse individuals face. While we have the policies and procedures in place more dialogue and action is needed to help address these challenges.
To guide this process, I have established the Gender Equality Committee to assist in implementing the University's Gender Equality Strategy and Action Plan 2015-2020. The Strategy seeks to support the University's efforts in recruiting, retaining and helping female staff to advance. Furthermore the Strategy also seeks to develop and achieve a deeper understanding and commitment to gender equity across the entire organisation.
In response to the Strategy, we have:
- undertaken an in-depth review of the University's promotions policies and procedures
- improved information and resources to inform staff of flexible work options, including the development of our Workplace Flexibility Policy
- developed a Supporting Parents Toolkit
- introduced up to eight weeks of primary carers leave for partners
- improved the availability of breastfeeding facilities on all campuses
- developed the Gender Equality Policy which aligns our University's policy and procedures framework
- continued to improve our representation of women in management positions
- reviewed our pay equity data to identify areas of concern
- introduced additional leave for staff experiencing domestic or family violence and improved information and resources available
- engaged in the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) pilot program which seeks to improve representation of women in STEM
- established the Gender Equality Fund which offers support to facilitate gender equality initiatives and promote workplace inclusion.
I want to continue the University's proud reputation as a sector leader in gender equality.
Professor Barney Glover
Vice-Chancellor and President