International Women's Day

International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated internationally on the 8th of March each year and provides a day for celebration and reflection on how far we have come, and how far we still have to go in achieving gender equality.

IWD 2019 Events

Each year Western Sydney University marks this day by hosting a staff breakfast inviting key note speakers to present on key gender equity issues.  In 2019 Western will be highlighting some of our leading and emerging Women in Research through a series of events across our campuses. Details of events, and presenters are outlined below.

International Women's Day Staff Breakfast

Professor Kerry Robinson from the School of Social Sciences and Psychology and Associate Professor Susanne Gannon from the School of Education will be our keynote speakers this year. Professor Robinson and Assoc. Professor Gannon were the recent recipients of a 2019 ARC grant for their research project Gender Matters: Changing gender equity policies and practices, and both have a diverse research history, including a focus on gender equity.   An abstract of their presentation ‘Gender Matters: Changing Times, Policies and Practices’ is outlined below:

Gender remains a key determinant of experience in Australian schools, universities and wider society. Indeed, in recent years,  gendered violence and sexual harassment have been key issues identified as prevalent in educational contexts and in other workplaces, impacting equality of education and workplace experiences, yet gender-related educational policy has almost disappeared. Additionally, for some conservative and right wing politicians and community members, gender theory is considered a controversial area, in which critical social construction perspectives are perceived to be undermining traditional gender relations and influencing the erosion of binary-gender identities, particularly amongst young people. This presentation looks at the different ways gender has been approached and understood in Australian education, and considers how we might refresh and refocus our understandings of gender for the present.  It draws on the current ARC grant Gender Matters, held by Gannon and Robinson.

  • Date: Friday 8 March, 8.00am – 9.30am
  • Venue: Janice Reid Pavillion EEa, Parramatta South Campus

Please visit to register your attendance.  Please note places are limited.

For further information please contact Katie Hayes, phone (02) 9678 7372 or email

Early/Mid Career Academic Showcase 

Western's early/Mid-career Academic Advisory Groups, with the support of the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Research and Innovation and Talent and Leadership Development, will be hosting a series of events showcasing early and mid career female academic's on their campus, with an opportunity for sharing ideas and networking across disciplines.  These events will serve to provide a platform for developing researchers, and facilitate increased awareness of research initiatives currently underway across our University.

Campbelltown Showcase - Celebrating Women and their Success!

Professor Lynn Kemp, Director of Translational Research and Social Impact Research Group (TReSI) within the School of Nursing & Midwifery will provide the keynote address and open this event, and introduce 12 early/mid career female researchers outlining their current research focus, and their lived experience as a developing researcher.

  • Date: Friday 8 March, 12.30pm – 2.30pm
  • Venue: Campbelltown Campus Bldg 22, Room 2.04, 12:30-2:30pm

You can register here for the Campbelltown event only, or download the flyer for more information. All staff and students are welcome to attend. Light refreshments will be served.

Bankstown Showcase - Celebrating Western Women

You are invited to join the Bankstown Campus ECA/MCA Advisory Group in celebrating and sharing the achievements and experiences of Western Sydney University female staff and students on International Women's Day. The event is intended to be friendly, sociable and supportive and will showcase exciting research projects from multiple Schools and research fields, as well as important leadership work happening in our curriculum innovation spaces.

  • Date: Friday 8 March, 1.00pm – 3.45pm
  • Venue: X-Lounge Bankstown Campus

Register here for the Bankstown event only, or download the Program for more information.  All staff and students are welcome to attend. Light refreshments will be served.

Penrith Showcase - Doing the Heavy (up)Lifting: Women Supporting Women in Academic Spaces

In the spirit of International Women’s Day, the Penrith Early to Mid-career academic advisory group are hosting an event which will engage a panel of female researchers to discuss how working with inspirational women has supported them in their careers to date. The event will also serve as to showcase some of the innovative and inspiring work these researchers are currently engaged in.

  • Date/Time: 8 March 2019, 2-4pm
  • Venue: Conference Room, Frogmore House, Werrington North Campus

Staff and HDR students can register via MyCareer Online in Staff Online by entering the event # 5226 in top right search box.

Staff or students who do not have access to MyCareer online may contact Marina Girgis on (02) 9678 7496 to register. Any other enquiries please email Leone Cripps.

All staff and students are welcome to attend. Light refreshments will be served.

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International Women's Day Celebration Luncheon - by invitation only

This lunch time event is being hosted by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research and Innovation to recognise the hard work and dedication of our female academics across education and research at Western and beyond. Alice Brennen, Executive Producer Background Briefing, Radio National ABC will be presenting to discuss her journey as an investigative journalist, and the importance policy plays in her work and in shaping public conversations. Ms Brennen is a multimedia investigative journalist with specialist skills in politics, law and business. She has covered and investigated significant international news and current affairs for Australian, U.S. and international agencies. Contact Judy Foster for more information.

Western Sydney University Women of the West Awards

Each year, Western Sydney University publicly celebrates the outstanding leadership and diversity of women who live and work in Greater Western Sydney. Our Women of the West Awards honour these women and formally recognise their contributions to the development of the region. The awards ceremony will be held on International Women's Day, 8 March 2019, at a special lunch event in conjunction with the Coleman Greig Women in Business Forum.  Find out more at Women of the West.

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Women in Research: Our International Women's Day Presenters

IWD Breakfast

Professor Kerry Robinson

Kerry Robinson is a Professor in Sociology in the School of Social Sciences and Psychology, leader of Sexualities and Genders Research (SaGR), and a member of THRI. Her research interests include: gender and sexuality studies; LGBT young people and gender and sexuality diverse children; sexual harassment; sexual citizenship; sexuality education; and anti-violence education programs in schools. Some of her publications include: Innocence, Knowledge and the construction of childhood: The contradictory relationship between sexuality and censorship in children’s contemporary lives (2013); and co-edited books: Rethinking school violence (2012); Diversity and Difference in Early Childhood Education: Issues for Theory and Practice, (2nd Ed. 2016); and Feminists Researching Gendered Childhoods (forthcoming 2019).

Associate Professor Susanne Gannon

Susanne Gannon is Associate Professor in the School of Education at Western Sydney University. Her diverse research interests include gender equity and sexualities, curriculum and writing pedagogies in education. She is co-editor of the international journal Gender and Education and regional editor of International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education. Recent co-edited books are Resisting Educational Inequality: Reframing Policy and Practice in Schools Serving Vulnerable Communities (2018), Contemporary Issues of Equity in Education (2014), and Becoming Girl: Collective Biography and the Production of Girlhood (2014).

Early and Mid Career Academic Showcase Presenters


Distinguished Professor Lynn Kemp is the Director of Translational Research and Social Impact Research Group (TReSI) within the School of Nursing & Midwifery, and recognised as an international leader in the field of early childhood interventions in primary and community health and translational research. Her local, national and international research in early childhood is bringing quality evidence-based early intervention programs to vulnerable families with young children in Australia and world-wide.

Dr Tinashe Dune is a Senior Lecturer in Interprofessional Health Sciences within the School of Science and Health and a core member of the Translational Health Research Insitute. Her research, teaching and practice focus on sexuality and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) in the context of marginalisation. This includes the experiences of culturally and linguistically diverse people, those living with disability, ageing populations, LGBTIQ-identifying people and Indigenous populations.

Dr Carolyn Ee is a Research Fellow with the NICM Health Research Institute, and is Chair of the RACGP Integrative Medicine Working Group. Carolyn has dual qualifications in Western and Chinese medicine, and her postgraduate research experience focuses on acupuncture for women’s health.

Dr Catharine Fleming is a Lecturer in Public Health in the School of Science and Health. Dr Fleming has research and professional experience is in public health, behavioural health science, paediatric nutrition, oncology and chronic disease management.

Dr Katie Hammill is a Lecturer in Occupational Therapy with the School of Science and Health. Katie's research interests lie in palliative care and oncology, and she has previously completed qualitative and quantitative research in the areas of lymphedema, handwriting for adults post stroke, occupational therapy service needs for people living with brain cancer, well-being post brain cancer, family centred practice in palliative care, and cancer survivorship.

Dr Fran Henshaw is a lecturer in Podiatry with the School of Science and Health.  Dr Henshaw’s primary research interest is in the prevention and management of diabetes related foot disease, with a current research focus on advanced wound assessment using novel point of care techniques such as ultrasound and biochemistry.

Dr Diana Jefferies is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Nursing and Midwifery. Current research focuses on investigating historical accounts of the lived experience of mental illness in women following childbirth.

Dr Cathy Kaplun is a Research Fellow with the Translational Research and Social Impact Research Group (TReSI) within the School of Nursing & Midwifery, and has over 10 years’ experience researching with families including families experiencing complex support needs, families with low English proficiency and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families.

Dr Freya MacMillan is a Senior Lecturer in Health Science with the School of Science and Health. Freya's research expertise is in the use of qualitative and quantitative techniques to measure and improve the knowledge base on the role of lifestyle behaviours (particularly physical activity) in health promotion and to guide intervention development and evaluation.

Dr Kate McBride is a Lecturer with the Translation Health Research Institute in the School of Medicine and has a broad research expertise is in epidemiology, public health and the improvement of health at a population level through the prevention of and reduction of chronic disease prevalence.

Nicole Sharp is a Lecturer in Occupational Therapy with the School of Science and Health. Her current research interests include role emerging placements for occupational therapy students, experiences of people with disability, families/carers and service providers around the National Disability Insurance Scheme, and social skill development for people with disability.

Dr Chloe Taylor is a Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Science in the School of Science and Health. Her current research focus is cardiovascular control, in particular the responses to physiological challenges such as exercise and orthostasis, and the effects of time of day.

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Dr Helen Basides is a Lecturer in Literary Studies in the School of Humanities and Communication Arts. Her research background is in eighteenth-century women’s writing and she is currently looking at the gendered nature of gratitude in the female gothic. In her previous life, Helen worked in publishing and she now imposes her editorial skills on undergraduate students who come to her for support with academic writing (Chair).

Dr Maria Bhatti is a lecturer with the School of Law at WSU. She completed her PhD from Monash University, and her thesis examined the intersection of religious and secular law through the lens of international commercial arbitration. Prior to completing her PhD, she worked as a family lawyer in Melbourne. Maria is the author of Islamic Law and International Commercial Arbitration published by Routledge in 2018. Maria’s current research interests include promoting Muslim women’s agency, voice and participation in society through law, and the impact of Islamophobia on Muslim women.

Dr Helen Koukoutsis is an Associate Lecturer in Literary Studies in the School of Humanities and Communications Arts, and a member of the Writing and Society Research Centre at Western Sydney University. Her primary research focus is poetry, which manifests into two forms: creative and scholarly. Her core field of scholarly research is the nineteenth-century cultural milieu and works of the American poet, Emily Dickinson. Her creative research explores the personal and cultural experiences of growing up Greek-Australian. Her first poetry collection, Cicada Chimes, was recently (2017) published by Ginninderra Press.

Dr Annette Sartor has a PhD in Environmental Psychology from the University of Sydney, conferred in 2018. Before joining Western Sydney University in the School of Education, she held a long career in school and environmental education in NSW institutions working predominantly in secondary schools and adult education. Annette’s teaching focus centres on community engagement as a tool for building competencies in pre-service teachers. In addition, she works with a number of community organisations in Greater Western Sydney running programs to support children with barriers to learning. Annette is particularly interested in social and environmental sustainability research and children’s participation in ‘place’ as a local area.

Dr Susan Sisko is a second career academic, lecturing in the Social Science and Psychology School. She is an early career researcher with interests in clinical supervision, diversity, cultural competence and transformational learning. Susan is a psychologist with specialist training in relationship work. Susan has worked in community mental health, hospital and private practice settings in Hong Kong, USA and Australia.

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Dr Emma George is a Senior Lecturer in Health and Physical Education in the School of Science and Health. Dr George is passionate about men's health, community engagement and health promotion, and uses sport as a vehicle to engage men in health promotion initiatives. She is the lead investigator on the Active Breed men's health program, which was co-created with sport, health and industry partners and delivered through the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs National Rugby League Club.

Dr Maryam Ghodrat is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the Centre for Infrastructure Engineeing. Dr Ghodrat has a research history in fluid mechanics, heat transfer, aerodynamic, particle-fluid flow, and granular dynamics. The specific research topics include particle separation, reacting multi-phase flows, thermodynamic analysis of waste to energy systems and fundamental aerodynamic analysis of wind-fire interaction phenomenon.

Dr Ana Rodas is a Lecturer in Criminology and Policing in the School of Social Sciences and Psychology.  Dr Rodas is a multi-disciplinary scholar with interest in prisoner health, correctional settings and policing. A central concern of her work has been the nexus between drug use and crime, and exploring ways in which effective implementation of Australia’s harm minimisation drug policy may assist in lowering re-offending rates amongst adult and juvenile offenders. Additionally, Dr Rodas has a current focus on plural policing and security networks at football stadia in Australia and England.

Dr Jacqueline Ullman is a Senior Lecturer in Adolescent Development, Behaviour and Well-Being and Pedagogical Studies in Secondary Education in the School of Education. Dr Ullman's research focus examines issues of school climate, school-based social relationships, and belonging, as they relate to motivation, academic self-concept and related school behaviours for marginalised secondary school students.  Her primary research focus is in the area of diversity of genders and sexualities and associated inclusive educational practices.

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Previous Events

IWD 2018
  • In 2018 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.
  • Professor Aldrich-Wrights 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.
IWD 2017
  • Western Sydney University hosted a series of events for IWD in 2017. We were fortunate to have Professor Sharon Bell from the Australian National University as our guest speaker at our IWD Breakfast. Prof Bell's presentation, "Be Like Gough: 75 Radical Ideas to Transform the Australian Academy" explored the current patterns of participation and success of women in higher education and looked at the implications for our sector, our students, our communities and our future, laying the challenge to find different, and radical, ways to transform the academy to better reflect the diversity and values of our communities. View Professor Bell's Presentation. PDF, 916.36 KB
  • Professor Bell also hosted a workshop for early career research staff on our Parramatta campus titled "Still Waiting in the Wings?" - exploring the current patterns of participation and success of academic women in higher education and the relevance of the enduring questions How Far Have We Come? and Why So Few? View Professor Bell's presentation. PDF, 646.99 KB , The full recording is available via the Reseacher Skills icon in My Career Online (staff login required).
  • A Senior women's dinner was also held with Professor Bell as guest speaker.
IWD 2016
  • The 2016 theme for International Women's Day Pledge for Parity was taken up by the Vice-Chancellor in his opening address for our International Women's Day staff breakfast on the 8th of March. Professor Glover spoke of the need to keep a strong focus on gender equality and women's rights. He outlined the University's Gender Equality Strategy and urged staff to think about the actions that they could take to help achieve gender parity more quickly. This was followed by an engaging presentation on Using Gender Equality to Drive Innovation and Success by guest speakers Rodin Genoff and Narelle Hooper, authors of the recently released and highly acclaimed "New Women, New Men, New Economy".
  • The Annual Western Sydney Women of the West and Young Women of the West Awards were held on Friday 18 March at Parramatta Campus. Ambassador for the Awards was was Lisa Wilkinson AM, with special guest speaker Lucy Turnbull AO, Chief Commissioner of the Greater Sydney Commission.
IWD 2014
  • Rhonda Hawkins, Acting Vice-Chancellor hosted the Annual Staff International Women's Day Breakfast on Monday 10 March at Penrith Campus. Guest speaker Dr Marguerite Evans-Galea delivered an excellent presentation on "Women in Research: Closing the Gender Gap".
  • The Annual UWS Women of the West and Young Women of the West Awards were held on Friday 7 March at Parramatta Campus. Special guest speaker was Australian business leader, company director and first female Lord Mayor of Sydney Lucy Turnbull AO.
IWD 2013
  • A Staff Breakfast at the Boilerhouse Restaurant on Parramatta Campus hosted by the Vice-Chancellor. Guest Speaker Barrister Jane Seymour spoke about the impacts of the new Workplace Gender Equality Act and proposed changes to Anti-Discrimination legislation.
  • The 2013 UWS Women of the West and Young Women of the West Awards were hosted by the Vice-Chancellor. Guest Speaker was acclaimed theatre director and writer Ros Horin. The 2013 Women of the West Awards video (opens in a new window) can be viewed on YouTube.
IWD 2012
  • The 2012 Brunch was hosted by the Acting Vice-Chancellor and included a keynote address by Associate Professor Susanne Gannon and a musical performance by UWS Student Kay Proudlove. Link to YouTube video clip of the IWD Staff Event.(opens in a new window)
  • A community event, hosted by the Vice-Chancellor at which the Annual UWS Women of the West Awards were announced.