Athena SWAN Bronze Award for gender equity presented to Western Sydney University

(L-R) Senior Project Officer Katie Hayes; Deputy Vice-Chancellor & Vice President (Research, Enterprise & International) Deborah Sweeney; Associate Professor Jo-Anne Chuck; Associate Dean Research Professor Janice Aldrich-Wright; Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Acting) Professor Denise Kirkpatrick; SAGE Project Officer Dr Kieryn McKay; Director, Equity and Diversity Professor Sev Ozdowski AM; School of Nursing and Midwifery Dean Professor Deborah Hatcher, Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment Dr Alexei Papanicolaou, Senior Manager Michelle Falconer

Western Sydney University has formally accepted the Athena SWAN Institutional Bronze Award for its sector-leading commitment to advancing gender equity in Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Medicine (STEMM).

The award was presented at the 2020 Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) Gala Awards Dinner in Adelaide on Thursday. It follows the development of a four-year Athena SWAN Action Plan (2019-2023) by the University to further support women and trans and gender diverse people in STEMM.

The plan complements the University’s existing policies, programs and initiatives that promote gender equity for staff and students. These efforts have seen the University rank first in the world for addressing gender equality in the 2019 Times Higher Education Impact Rankings and noted as an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency for 14 consecutive years.

Professor Denise Kirkpatrick, Acting Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, says the University’s participation in the SAGE Athena SWAN program has enriched its approach to furthering gender equity and to leading as a world-class institution.

“The Athena SWAN Institutional Bronze Award is further acknowledgment of the University’s leadership role in promoting gender equity, an area in which we will continue to work hard and to innovate in to create meaningful change that continues to meet the needs of our diverse community,” said Professor Kirkpatrick.

Western Sydney University Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Barney Glover AO welcomed the award and thanked those whose work contributed to the conferral of the award.

“Western Sydney University is committed to creating and promoting a gender-inclusive culture. Through our programs and initiatives, we are helping to support women’s participation in STEMM disciplines as we as assisting women to excel in their chosen fields and lead as role models.”

Western Sydney University’s Athena SWAN Action Plan highlights:

  • Implementing Equity and Diversity Working Parties in every School, Institute and Division across the University.
  • Additional high school outreach and engagement through new initiatives aimed at increasing girls’ participation in STEMM.
  • Increasing the visibility of role models in areas of STEMM that have low female representation through initiatives such as the Women of Wisdom program in Engineering, and the Western Women Transforming the Built Environment network.
  • Raising the profile of outstanding early-career STEMM women across the University, through programs such as our Network for Emerging Women.
  • Providing additional support and flexibility for staff who are parents and carers, particularly in support of career development.


21 February 2020

Media Unit

Photo credit: Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE)