Gender equity and inclusion attracts prestigious award for Griffith

Marnie King, Prof Debra Henly and Prof Lesley Chenoweth with the award. Photo: Bradley Cummings

Griffith has been recognised for its commitment to addressing gender inequality in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM), by being among the first Australian institutions to be bestowed a Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) Athena SWAN Bronze Institutional Award 

These awards have been conferred in Australia in 2018 for the first time after being established in the UK over a decade ago. 

Griffith’s Athena SWAN Bronze Award has been the result of a two-year journey. After signing up to the first SAGE pilot in 2016, the university undertook an extensive self-assessment and developed a comprehensive action plan to address gender inequality in STEMM and support greater diversity and inclusion. 

The Athena SWAN Institutional Awards were presented at the Inaugural SAGE Awards Gala Dinner held at Parliament House in Canberra and conferred by the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology the Hon Karen Andrews MP. 

Griffith Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) Professor Debra Henly said it was very pleasing that the work Griffith had been undertaking over many years to promote the careers of women had been recognised with the accolade.  

“We know that academic women are underrepresented in Science, Engineering, and Technology at Griffith, particularly at senior levels, and at senior levels in many Health disciplines,” Professor Henly said. 

“The Athena SWAN program required us to examine the issues that may underpin this underrepresentation and develop plans to address these issues. 

“As a result of the Athena SWAN program, we have committed to many new initiatives including: 

  • Ensuring shortlists for all positions include a minimum quota of female applicants; 
  • A number of women-only fellowships; 
  • Specific support for women during and immediately after parental leave to ensure interruptions to research outputs are minimised; 
  • Programs directed at supporting First Peoples HDR students with commitments to offer designated post graduate fellowships; 
  • Appointing a Women in STEMM Coordinator to ensure actions are implemented. 

SAGE is a joint partnership between the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering.  

SAGE builds on the success of the Athena SWAN Charter and its 10 principles of equality and inclusion, established and operated by the Equality Challenge Unit in the UK, by adapting the Athena SWAN accreditation framework to identify and address gender inequality in Australian higher education and research institutions. 

The Bronze Award recognises Griffith’s commitment to advancing the careers of women, trans, and gender diverse individuals in STEMM disciplines in Higher Education and Research and demonstrating a solid foundation for improving gender equality in STEMM. 

Griffith HR Lead for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Marnie King said “the process provided an excellent opportunity to conduct a deep and broad analysis of gender diversity and inclusion issues in STEMM, and build, through the associated four-year action plan, on Griffith’s long-standing commitments to women in the workplace”.  

“It has been exciting to witness the already significant progress on our action plan.”