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.

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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 8 December 2016. This marks 12 consecutive years that the University has received the award.

In congratulating award recipients, Agency Director, Libby Lyons outlined "WGEA data shows there is progress towards gender equality in Australian workplaces, but it is too slow. It is only through more employers adopting leading practices to promote gender equality in the workplace that we will see the pace of change pick up. That's why it is so encouraging to see more than 100 organisations meet the very high standard required to receive the WGEA Employer of Choice for Gender Equality citation this year. I congratulate all the 2016 citation holders for their commitment and recognition of the strong business case for gender equality. I hope to see continued growth in this community of leading practice employers."

The Vice Chancellor has welcomed the announcement stating that  "The University maintains a strong commitment to gender equality and will continue to explore ways to achieve an inclusive and fair working environment for both women and men. Recently, paid parental leave of eight weeks became available to primary carers who are on a continuing appointment with 12 or more months of service. Other areas we are focusing on are improving the representation of women in senior leadership positions and reducing the pay equity gap."

Western Sydney University Employer of Choice Gender Equality Application 2016

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 s.ozdowski@westernsydney.edu.au 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

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.

Nominations open for the 2018 NSW Women of the Year Awards

There are many exceptional women in NSW who deserve to be recognised. If you would like to acknowledge a woman in your community who has made a significant contribution, has demonstrated excellence in her career, or is an inspiring role model, you can nominate her for the 2018 NSW Women of the Year Awards. Nominations are now open.

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

Equal Pay Day 4 September 2017

In 2017, Equal Pay Day was marked on the 4 September. The date is representative of the additional number of days that women have had to work since the end of the financial year in order to match the average earnings of men for the same period. See our Vice Chancellor's statement on Equal Pay Day.

Libby Lyons, Director of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA), states "The gender pay gap is a measure of lost potential, showing that women still face barriers to accessing senior and high-paying roles. A small improvement over the past year is good news but we need a continued effort to stamp out bias and outdated gender stereotypes."

For more information visit the WGEA.

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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