Gender Equality

Gender Equality Matters at Western Sydney University

"Our goal [at Western Sydney University] is to promote and embed a gender-aware and gender-responsive culture that understands gender equality as a core value. That's our commitment." Professor Barney Glover, Vice-Chancellor and University President.

Download a copy of the full transcript.

VC Statement on Gender Equality

Professor Barney GloverGender equality is about fundamental human rights and is integral to our commitment to be a world class university recognised for its world class education and research.

Western Sydney University has a proud record for advancing gender equality. For many years, 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 supporting strategies and policies on gender equality, including the newly published Gender Equality Policy, the Equity and Diversity Strategic Plan, the Our People 2015 Staffing Strategy, the Equal Opportunity and Diversity Policy and the Enterprise Agreements.

Currently over 50% of our staff and students are women, 43% of all 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 guide this process, I 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 areas of the organisation that have traditionally struggled to recruit, retain and advance female staff, as well as to facilitate 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 on our website to inform staff of flexible work options
  • 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
  • established the Gender Equality Fund which offers support to facilitate gender equality initiatives and promote workplace inclusion.

To progress gender equality further we must continue to challenge the beliefs and attitudes that are undermining progress. To progress gender equality I want to expand the focus on workplace flexibility and the crucial role it plays in achieving gender equality. While we have the policies and procedures in place more dialogue is needed to help better implement flexibility in practice at all levels of the University.

I want us to challenge the status quo, to be innovative and creative in how we overcome the barriers that women face, particularly in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines and related non-traditional occupations. Our involvement in the SAGE pilot program looks at addressing this very issue.

I want to continue the University's proud reputation as a sector leader in gender equality.

Professor Barney Glover
Vice-Chancellor and University President

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Employer of Choice Logo of WGEA Employer of Choice for Gender Equality

Western Sydney University is an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality

This citation was awarded by the Federal Government's Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) on 21 February 2018. This marks 13 consecutive years that the University has received the award.

In congratulating award recipients, Agency Director, Libby Lyons stated “This year, I am particularly delighted to see some of the innovative and exciting initiatives by our EOCGE citation holders on such issues as flexibility, paid parental leave, supporting women in leadership and addressing gender pay gaps. I congratulate all the 2017-18 citation holders for their commitment and recognition of benefits improved gender equality can bring to their business. These employers are setting the benchmark for other Australian workplaces to follow.” View WGEA media release.

The Vice Chancellor has welcomed the citation stating "The University is proud to once again be recognised for demonstrating our firm commitment to equity and inclusiveness and will continue to promote and embed an organisational culture that values gender equality, and recognises the benefits of supporting a gender diverse workplace.” View full media release.

Western Sydney University Employer of Choice Gender Equality Application 2017

Workplace Gender Equality Agency

Gender Equality Strategy and Action Plan 2015-2020

Workplace Gender Equality Reporting

Under the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012, Western Sydney University has an obligation to improve and promote equality for women and men in the workplace.

The University is also required to report to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) annually on a set of standardised reporting matters under six gender equality indicators. The reporting period refers to the 12 months from 1 April to 31 March annually.

The 2016-2017 Public Report has been lodged with the Workforce Gender Equality Agency.

Comments on the report can be made to  Dr Sev Ozdowski, Director of Equity and Diversity at or to the Workforce Gender Equality Agency.

If you require the Report in another format please phone Equity and Diversity on 9678 7378.

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Latest news

International Women's Day Staff Breakfast - 8 March 2018

Western Sydney University hosted its annual breakfast in recognition of International Women's Day on the 8th of March 2018.

This year we were pleased to have Professor Janice Aldrich-Wright from the School of Science and Health as our keynote presenter. Professor Aldrich-Wright is internationally recognised in the field of anticancer chemistry and pharmacology and is the Academic Lead for our Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) Project at Western. View Professor Aldrich-Wright's full biography.

Her keynote presentation, GenderUNLIMITED at WSU: The SAGE Journey, outlined the progress of the SAGE project to date, highlighted the influence of women across our University, and spotlighted SAGE’s developing plans to amplify the contributions of women and gender diverse people moving forward.

The full presentation is available for download here.

This year we were encouraged to "Leave no Women Behind" and #PressforProgress. Find out more about motivating and uniting friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be gender inclusive via the IWD website.

Gender and Education Association Conference 2018 - Abstracts now open

The Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education at the University of Newcastle will be hosting the International Gender and Education Association (GEA) Conference 9-12 December.  The call for abstracts is now open.

The aim of #GEACONF2018 is to provide a rich and participatory forum to enable us to collaboratively explore the challenges and strategies for feminist educators, researchers, activists and participants in these complex and sometimes perplexing times.

The 2018 conference addresses a crucial theme of our times: ‘Gender, post-truth, populism and pedagogies: challenges and strategies in a shifting political landscape’. We invite educators, researchers, and activists to take part in discussion, exploration and debate about the ways that knowledge, authority, truth, power and harm are resurfacing and require deep, collective and sustained feminist intervention.

For more information visit the conference website.

Australia's latest Gender Equality scorecard

The Workplace Gender Equality Agency has launched its annual report on Australia's workforce gender equality data with the release of the 2016-17 Australia's Gender Equality Scorecard.

In the fourth year that data has been collected, the WGEA ‘Scorecard’ provides a comprehensive snapshot of Australia’s workplace gender equality performance. The report highlights areas which have improved, as well as those that still require attention.

Highlights include:

  • The number of organisations analysing their pay gaps has risen by almost 11% in the last 12 months.
  • There has been a small reduction in Australia’s overall gender pay gap, from 17.7% to 17.3%, however women continue to be under-represented in senior management roles.

To view the data in more detail visit the WGEA Data Explorer.

Women in Leadership: Lessons from Australian companies leading the way

Developed by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency in cooperation with the Business Council of Australia (BCA) and McKinsey & Company, Women in Leadership: Lessons from Australian companies leading the way, provides an evidence-based recipe for dismantling barriers to women’s participation at senior levels. The report reveals how high-performing companies use a suite of 10 practices to achieve change and how these practices can be customised to overcome industry challenges.

Women's Leadership Symposium's 2018

The Australian Women's Leadership Symposiums are a national series of events focused on the experiences of women leaders in the contemporary workforce. Held annually, the Symposiums have been running for over ten years and have become the most highly attended women's leadership events in the country.

For more information visit Women in Leadership

Western Sydney University Gender Equality Policy

Western Sydney University is committed to improving and promoting gender equality in the workplace. Achieving gender equality will enable the University to attract, motivate and retain a diverse and high performance workforce, reduce the incidence and costs of employee turnover, improve productivity, innovation and creativity, secure research funding, and build social inclusion. To reflect our continued commitment to gender equality the University has developed the Gender Equality Policy which is now available on the staff Policy DDS. This policy applies to all employees, officers, and members of University committee.

Superstars of STEM - A Science and Technology Australia Initiative

Western Sydney University has had two staff recognised as Superstars of STEM (opens in new window)Opens in a new window.   Dr Kate Umbers and Dr Siobhan Schabrun will be part of a program recently launched Science and Technology Australia (STA), the nation's peak body in science and technology. This program will train and support 30 of the nation's most dynamic scientists and technologists to create role models for young women and girls, and work towards equal representation in the media of men and women in STEM.

You can find out more about the program here.

Engaging Men on Gender Equality: New study now available

Initiatives aimed at 'engaging men' to address gender inequality have gained popularity in recent years. But how much do we really know about the most effective ways to engage men in gender equality? The Diversity Council of Australia (DCA) has released a new report, Men Make a Difference: Engaging Men on Gender Equality. Sponsored by Programmed the report examines the evidence for what works and what doesn't, and recommends more effective ways to engage men to achieve gender equality at work.

The report findings also outline ten ways to engage men on gender equality at work:

  1. Get the foundation right – ensure gender equality initiatives involve women and men as active and equal partners.
  2. Get the framing right – treat gender equality as a business issue, not a women's issue.
  3. Go wide – make visible and target all key gender equality areas (i.e. paid work, power and decision making, financial security, personal safety, interpersonal work relationships, caring, and community involvement).
  4. Get the messaging right – to appeal to men as well as women.
  5. Engage a diversity of men – including men in different organisational roles and levels, and with a variety of demographic backgrounds (e.g. ages, cultural backgrounds, sexual orientations).
  6. Educate about how to lead change effectively – by resourcing initiatives, being visible and persistent, and 'walking the talk'.
  7. Make the connection between work and home – by implementing initiatives that encourage gender equality in caregiving.
  8. Make the connection between work and communities – by framing gender inequality as a societal/community problem.
  9. Build individuals' gender confidence and capability – by providing opportunities for both men and women to change their mindsets, assumptions, and behaviours.
  10. Encourage men and women to challenge and change gender-biased organisational policies and practices.

Visit the DCA website to download the report synopsis and infographic.

A Conversation in Gender Equality

In the second half of 2016, Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins travelled to every state and territory to learn about Australia's progress towards gender equality. The Australian Human Rights Commission has recently released a paper on the key focus area's which came out of the Commissioner's observations and discussions including  violence against women, women's economic security and women's voice and diversity in decision making. A Conversation in Gender Equality. (Opens in a new window)

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