Swinburne takes Pledge for Parity for International Women's Day

Tuesday 8 March 2016

guests enjoying swinburne women photographic exhibition in foyer of hawthorn arts centre

Swinburne staff gathered at the Hawthorn Arts Centre to celebrate International Women's Day and the launch of the Women of Swinburne exhibition.

Swinburne University of Technology has restated its commitment to gender equality, at an International Women’s Day event at the Hawthorn Arts Centre.

International Women’s Day is celebrated on 8 March each year to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The 2016 theme is Pledge for Parity.

Andrew Field on stage with panel as he addresses the audience with acknowledgements to the warundjeri people
Swinburne Chief Financial Officer, Andrew Field, welcomes guests. 

Guest speakers who shared their stories and insights were:

  • Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Shadow Minister for Scrutiny of Government, Inga Peulich;
  • Director of the Centre for Ethical Leadership, Professor Robert  Wood;
  • Swinburne Chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Virginia Kilborn;
  • Swinburne PAVE Head of  Department of Business and Finance, Mish Eastman; and
  • Swinburne psychology student Addy Dunkley-Smith

Aboriginal elder Georgina Nicholson on stage speaking at International Women's day
Aboriginal Elder Georgina Nicholson delivered the Welcome to Country 

Associate Professor Kilborn observed that whilst the gender pay gap in Australia had narrowed slightly in the past year to 17.3 per cent, there is still a fundamental wage gap between women and men.

She cited a recent Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) report that highlighted an even larger pay gap for female managers.

“In academia, Universities Australia data shows that women are more likely to be employed at lower levels, and comparatively few make it to the professoriate, where less than 30 per cent are women,” she said.

Associate Professor Kilborn outlined her personal career journey as a female academic in a traditionally male dominated field, and her recent activism in promoting gender equity in academia.

In 2013 she created an equity and diversity committee for the Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing, which last year received a Bronze Pleiades award from the Astronomical Society of Australia for its efforts in gender equity.

Maroochy Barambah smiles to the crowd during her opening performance
Songwoman and Law-Woman of the Turrbal People, Maroochy Barambah

Along with colleagues, Associate Professors Birgit Loch and Helana Scheepers, she established a Swinburne-wide peer support mentoring program, the Swinburne Women’s Academic Network (SWAN) in 2015.

The SWAN program resulted in record numbers of women applying for promotion. The network will help women plan their academic careers, for which promotion is just one part of the journey.

Associate Professor Virginia Kilborn is one of 20 Swinburne outstanding female staff and students celebrated in a photographic exhibition.

In 2015 she also co-authored an article on how to get more women promoted to top jobs in universities.

Swinburne women photographic display in the foyer of the Advanced Technologies Centre

The Swinburne Women exhibition will be on display in the foyer of the Advanced Technologies Centre until 5 April 2016.