Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is ANU participating in the SAGE Athena SWAN pilot? How will Athena SWAN accreditation benefit ANU?

ANU is committed to creating an inclusive environment where all staff have the opportunity to reach their full potential. Through the SAGE Athena SWAN project, we will build excellence in gender equity in Australia.

The loss of female researchers is a waste of talent, and negatively impacts our capacity for excellence in research and innovation.

To achieve a culture of academic excellence, ANU must be able to attract and retain leading researchers, regardless of their gender or background.

By committing to the Athena SWAN principles and achieving accreditation, ANU will be well on the way to becoming a more inclusive and equitable working environment. This benefits our current employees, and will also help ANU attract the best and brightest researchers into the future.

Gender equity doesn’t affect me – why do I need to know about the SAGE Athena SWAN project?

Gender equity isn’t just a ‘women’s issue’ - everyone benefits from a more inclusive working environment. Research shows that workplaces that are more diverse and inclusive have lower staff turnover, higher employee satisfaction, and increased productivity, innovation and creativity.

Initiatives recently introduced at ANU, such as the extension to Paid Parental Leave and the boost to the Carer's Career Development Assistance Fund help both men and women achieve better work-life balance.

Men have a key role to play in advancing gender equity, by speaking out against discrimination and consciously working to make our culture at ANU more inclusive.

Isn’t this just a box-ticking exercise?

No – far from it. The Athena SWAN model is a framework that will help us address inequity at ANU, and take active steps towards building a more inclusive workplace.

The application for the Athena SWAN Bronze award is based on self-assessment and an honest reflection on the current state of gender equity across the University. By doing this, we can establish a baseline against which to measure our performance.

As part of the application for the Athena SWAN Bronze institutional award, ANU will develop a 4-year action plan that sets out the practical ways in which the ANU will tackle inequity and become a more inclusive environment. Work on developing this action plan will begin in the second half of 2018.

Is gender equity about achieving a 50:50 ratio of men to women? Doesn’t ANU already have an even split of males to females, when you consider all staff across campus?

Yes, when you consider all staff at ANU, there are as many female staff on campus as there are males. However look more closely at the figures, and we see there are more women than men who work in part-time, casual, or contract roles, and less women working in senior roles.

Gender equity is more than just having a 50:50 ratio. More importantly, it’s about who has a voice and influence, how gender inequities are embedded in everyday practices of academia, and how we support women in their careers.

Has ANU made any real progress towards gender equity since we started SAGE Athena SWAN?

In 2016 ANU became a member of the SAGE Pilot, and in the years since we’ve made a significant commitment towards achieving gender equity at ANU, as outlined in the Strategic Plan 2018 – 2021 (Key initiative 3.1). 

Since becoming members of the SAGE Pilot, the University has:

Further actions will be developed and proposed as part of the SAGE project.

What is Athena SWAN, and what is SAGE?

The Athena SWAN Charter is an accreditation program that was established in the United Kingdom in 2005, and has had great success in enhancing gender equity within research institutes in the UK.

The application process for a Bronze Athena SWAN award requires organisations to engage in self-reflection and to identify challenges to gender equity. It gives the impetus to formalise best practice for inclusion, and requires organisations to develop an action plan for future improvements.

SAGE stands for Science in Australia Gender Equity. Established in 2015, the SAGE pilot of the Athena SWAN Charter is being rolled out to forty universities and research institutions across Australia.

 Find out more about the background of Athena SWAN and SAGE.

Isn’t this project about Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM)? How will it impact on the other disciplines at ANU?

While the application for an Athena SWAN Bronze institutional award mainly focuses on STEMM, the SAGE project at ANU takes into account gender equity across the entire University. All areas of ANU will benefit from greater diversity and inclusiveness.

How does the accreditation process work?

Data collection and analysis is central to the ANU SAGE project, as it will help us better understand the current state of gender equity across ANU and establish a baseline against which we can measure our performance. 

As part of the ANU SAGE application for a Bronze award, we are developing a 4-year Action Plan that will address the systemic and cultural issues that we need to overcome to achieve gender equity at ANU.

The application is due to be submitted at the end of March 2019. We expect to know the outcome by the end of 2019.

Who is involved in the ANU SAGE Athena SWAN project?

The Self-Assessment Team is chaired by the Provost Professor Mike Calford, with members representing Colleges and staff from across the ANU.

The project is supported by the SAGE Project Team, made up of a Project Manager, Communications Officer and Project Officer.

How can I support the SAGE project, and gender equity at ANU?

In order for the SAGE Athena SWAN project to be successful at ANU, it’s important that staff across the University are aware of and engaged with the project.

Over the coming months we’ll be holding information sessions to share information about the SAGE project, and we’ll also seek your input into the current state of gender equity at ANU.

We are currently developing some resources about how you can support and promote gender equity and inclusiveness at ANU. More information about this will be made available in 2018.

In the meantime, we welcome your feedback on the project and your suggestions for how we can make ANU a more inclusive and diverse place to work.


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