Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE)

Athena Swan Member logo

The University is proud to participate in Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE), a nation-wide initiative to promote gender equity and gender diversity in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM). The program is based on the Athena Swan Charter, a UK-based evaluation and accreditation framework, which uses a bronze, silver or gold award rating system to assess participating institutions’ commitment to advancing gender equity in their local contexts. The awards are extremely rigorous and are cumulative, with each award current for four years.

Participating in Cohort 2 of the SAGE Pilot process, the University submitted its first application for Athena SWAN Bronze Award in March 2019. As part of this process, we undertook a thorough self-assessment of organisational data, systems, structure, and culture to draw together an in-depth understanding of how the University promotes and supports gender equity. We also developed a comprehensive four-year Athena SWAN Action Plan (2019-2023) that will provide further platforms of opportunity for women, trans and gender diverse staff within our STEMM disciplines.

The University’s Athena SWAN Bronze Award submission was developed by our SAGE Self-Assessment Team, comprising a mix of academic and professional staff with a diverse range of personal and professional backgrounds, and who offered a range of insights to inform the application. The University will be notified of the outcome of our Athena SWAN Bronze Award application in the coming months, with results announced at Gender UNLIMITED* #4, Tuesday 22nd October 2019.

The University aspires to promote a gender-aware, gender-responsive culture across our organisation. We are strongly committed to the SAGE process, and will extend its reach beyond the STEMM disciplines to penetrate the whole of our organisation – including among the non-STEMM fields and across professional staff domains. Our ultimate aim is to embed sustainable structural and cultural change across the University that understands gender equity as a core value.

Upcoming Events

Gender UNLIMITED* #4: People Value: Engaging Our Greatest Asset Through Gender Equity

At last year’s SAGE Research Week event, our keynote speaker Professor Sharon Bell (DVC Strategy & Planning) reminded us that people are academia’s greatest asset. This year we consider how we might institute strategies and ways of thinking at Western Sydney University that value the whole person as we strive for gender equity. Please join us for this year’s SAGE Research Week event, Session #4 in our Gender UNLIMITED* Seminar Series, "People Value: Engaging Our Greatest Asset through Gender Equity". 

An opening address by Associate Professor Kate Huppatz (Sociology, Western Sydney University), “Gender and Labour in Higher Education: What is at Stake?” will offer important insights into the key gender issues arising across our sector. The opening address will be followed by an engaging presentation by SAGE Academic Lead Professor Janice Aldrich-Wright and SAGE Project Coordinator Dr Kieryn McKay"Gender Equity Matters: Our Status and Our Vision". This presentation will give detail of the University's submission for Athena SWAN Bronze Award and will map the commitments and objectives laid out by the University's four-year SAGE Action Plan (2019-2023). A Gender Equity Showcase of initiatives underway at Western Sydney University will be held throughout morning tea, which will be provided.

The event will culminate with a thought-provoking keynote address by superstar academic Professor Cordelia Fine, Professor of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Melbourne. Professor Fine's feature presentation is titled "Women's Value: Beyond the Business Case for Diversity & Inclusion". Cordelia is an academic psychologist and one of Australia’s foremost gender scholars. She has been hailed “a brilliant feminist critic of the neurosciences” (Times HES) and won the Edinburgh Medal 2018 for her work in challenging gender bias in science and for her contributions to public debates around gender equality. Her most recent book, Testosterone Rex (2017), won the Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize 2017 and was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize 2018.

All sessions will provide time for audience Q&As, expertly Chaired by DVC (Research & Innovation) Professor Deborah Sweeney. Full session details are outlined below.


Date/Time: 9.15am–12.30pm, Tuesday 22nd October 2019.

Venue: Conference Rooms 3 & 4, Level 9, Peter Shergold Building, Parramatta City Campus (1PSQ)


Series Contact: Dr Kieryn McKay, SAGE Project Coordinator,

An event program can be downloaded here.

Past Events

Gender UNLIMITED* #3: Engaging Communities

On Thursday 28th February 2019 we held session 3 of the Gender Unlimited Series on “Engaging Communities”. Run by Western Sydney University’s SAGE team, the Gender UNLIMITED* series draws together a network of participants and speakers from across the Sydney region to ask: How can we start to make real progress towards overcoming the challenges to gender equality?

This third seminar in the series explores strategies and opportunities to engage diverse communities in the push for gender equality on our campuses, in our workplaces, and within local communities themselves. The seminar engages with industry and community leaders who have each played important roles in engaging diverse communities over several decades. Our keynote presentation will be delivered by Professor Nareen Young, Industry professor, Indigenous Workforce Diversity at UTS and former CEO of Diversity Council Australia. The Panel Discussion is chaired by Professor Sev Ozdowski AM, Director, Equity and Diversity at Western Sydney University. Panelists include Samantha Webster (Pride in Diversity), Amanda Rose and Maria Kovacic (Western Sydney Women) and B-Ann Echevarria (NSW Refugee Health Service). Morning tea is included.

Presenter profiles and the event details can be downloaded here.

Gender UNLIMITED* #2: Gender Equality in Higher Education

On Tuesday 23rd October 2018 we held session two of the Gender UNLIMITED* seminar series, hosted by SAGE at Western Sydney University.

The Gender UNLIMITED* series asks: How can we start to make real progress towards overcoming the challenges to gender equality? Are we doing enough?

The second session of the series considers these questions within a higher education context. The event takes place in two parts: the morning session comprises short presentations from 2018 recipients of the Vice-Chancellor’s Gender Equality Fund and a showcase of current gender equality initiatives underway at WSU. The afternoon session features a keynote presentation from DVC & VP (Strategy & Planning) Professor Sharon Bell, and a panel discussion chaired by DVC & VP (Research & innovation) Professor Deborah Sweeney. Panel discussants include representatives from UNSW, Macquarie University, University of Canberra, University of Sydney and University of Newcastle.

You can download the event details here.

Gender UNLIMITED #1: Gender, Equality and Violence and Series Launch

On 20th September 2018 we held the launch of Gender UNLIMITED*, a new seminar series hosted by SAGE at Western Sydney University.

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 will be 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. The Panel Discussion was Chaired by Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic), and welcomed Mr Scott Holmes (Our Watch), Mr Ronan Smyth (White Ribbon Australia) and Associate Professor Kate Huppatz (Sociology, WSU) to this important conversation. A light lunch was included, which was followed by a special seminar with Mr Scott Holmes of Our Watch and Associate Professor Michael Salter (Criminology, WSU) to delve into detailed strategies for how to prevent gendered violence in the workplace.

You can download the Launch details about Series Outline here.

International Women's Day Staff Breakfast - 8 March 2018

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

This year we are 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, will spotlight the indelible influence of women and gender diverse people across our University and outline our plans for amplifying their contributions as we #PressforProgress here at Western Sydney University.

This year we are 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 at IWD website.

Research Week 2017 - SAGE Gender in the Workplace Seminar

The Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) Program is coordinating a 'Gender in the Workplace' seminar as part of this years Research Week. The seminar will include presentations from staff across the University on critical issues affecting gender equality in industry, across academia, and here at Western Sydney University. These presentations will be followed by a panel discussion which will provide a productive forum for interdisciplinary discussion around gender and inequality. The intention of the event is to open debate about gender equality on a broad scale, working toward a wide-ranging and progressive discussion that generates ideas on how we move forward with gender equality at Western Sydney University.

To register your interest for the event, please email the SAGE Project Officer, Dr Kieryn McKay at

Invitation to Gender in the Workplace Seminar

Further information

Further opportunities

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

To find out more visit Superstars of STEM.

Researcher Development at Western

For more information visit the Researcher development website at Western Sydney University.

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