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 Glover

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 out 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 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 seeProfessor Deborah Sweeney and Libby Lyons, Director Workplace Gender Equality Agency 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 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.

In September this year, Western Sydney University once again submitted its application for the WGEA Employer of Choice for Gender Equality for 2018-19, with successful applicants to be announced in February 2019.

Western Sydney University Employer of Choice Gender Equality 2018 Application

Workplace Gender Equality Agency


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 2017-2018 Public Report has been lodged with the Workplace 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 Workplace 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 released

The Workplace Gender Equality Agency has launched its annual report on Australia's workforce gender equality data with the release of the 2017-18 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.


Gender UNLIMITED Seminar Series Launch

On 20 September the Gender UNLIMITED* seminar series, hosted by SAGE at Western Sydney University, was officially launched at our Parramatta City Campus. Gender UNLIMITED* draws together a network of participants and speakers from across the Sydney region to examine the persistent challenges to gender equality on our campuses, in our workplaces and within our communities. The series asks: How can we start to make real progress towards overcoming the challenges to gender equality? Are we doing enough? The launch was officiated by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Barney Glover, and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor Denise Kirkpatrick.

This first seminar addressed “Gender, Equality, and Violence” and featured a keynote presentation from Ms Libby Loyd AM, past President of UN Women Australia, Chair of the National Council to Reduce Violence Against Women and Children, and Chair of the Violence Against Women Advisory Group. This was followed by a panel discussion chaired by Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic), and including Mr Scott Holmes (Our Watch), Mr Ronan Smyth (White Ribbon Australia) and Associate Professor Kate Huppatz (Sociology, WSU). The keynote and launch was followed by a special seminar with Mr Scott Holmes of Our Watch and Associate Professor Michael Salter (Criminology, WSU) which delved into detailed strategies for how to prevent gendered violence in the workplace.

For further information please contact Dr Kieryn McKay -  k.mckay@westernsydney.edu.au.


Equal Pay Day Announced - 31 August 2018

Equal Pay Day marks the additional time from the end of the previous financial year that women must work in order to earn the same average income as men. This year Equal Pay Day will fall on Friday 31 August.

Libby Lyons, Director of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, states "The gender pay gap is a symptom of a broader issue. It reflects the fact that women’s work is traditionally undervalued and women are often paid less than men. Average full-time salaries are lower for women than men in every occupation and industry in Australia. Women are under-represented in senior executive and management roles and female-dominated occupations and industries attract lower pay than male-dominated ones."

Find out more about Equal Pay Day at Workplace Gender Equality Agency website.


Superstars of STEM - Applications now open

The Superstars of STEM program aims to 'smash society’s gender assumptions about scientists and increase the public visibility of women in STEM'.  Science and Technology Australia (STA) started Superstars of STEM to create a critical mass of celebrity Australian female scientists and technologists - role models for young women and girls – and to work towards equal representation in the media of women and men working in all fields in STEM. In the previous round Western Sydney University had two staff recognised - Dr Kate Umbers and Dr Siobhan Schabrun.  The program runs over a 2 year period and provides training and support for the nation's most dynamic scientists and technologists. Applications for the current round are now open.

If you are thinking of applying and would like some guidance you can contact sage@westernsydney.edu.au.

To find out more visit Superstars of STEM.


Australian Human Rights Commission announces National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces

On 20 June 2018 Australia’s Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Kate Jenkins, announced a national inquiry into sexual harassment in Australian workplaces. The Commission has opened a submission process with the aim of hearing from as many people.  Consultations will also be held in all Australian capital cities and a number of regional cities later in 2018.

The National Inquiry will review and report on:

  • a national survey of the prevalence, nature and reporting of sexual harassment in Australian workplaces, by sector
  • online workplace-related sexual and sex-based harassment and the use of technology and social media to perpetrate workplace-related sexual and sex-based harassment
  • the use of technology and social media to identify both alleged victims and perpetrators of workplace-related sexual harassment
  • the drivers of workplace sexual harassment, including whether:
    • some individuals are more likely to experience sexual harassment due to particular characteristics including gender, age, sexual orientation, culturally or linguistically diverse background, Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander status or disability
    • some workplace characteristics and practices are more likely to increase the risk of sexual harassment
  • the current legal framework with respect to sexual harassment
  • existing measures and good practice being undertaken by employers in preventing and responding to workplace sexual harassment, both domestically and internationally the impacts on individuals and business of sexual harassment, such as mental health, and the economic impacts such as workers compensation claims, employee turnover and absenteeism, and
  • recommendations to address sexual harassment in Australian workplaces.

For more information visit the Australian Human Rights Commission.


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.


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.


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.


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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