Since March 2021, the Victorian Gender Equality Act 2020 (the Act) has been in place to improve workplace gender equality in the Victorian public sector, universities and local councils. Under the Act, Swinburne is required to take positive action towards workplace gender equality and develop a Gender Equality Action Plan (GEAP).
With the launch of the GEAP it is important to recognise the gender equity work that has been taking place at Swinburne over many years. These strategies include:
- Our roadmap to cultural change embeds new organisation-wide values, including a continued commitment to diversity and inclusion (D&I).
- Swinburne’s Diversity & Inclusion Strategy and Framework, under which the GEAP will sit, takes an intersectional approach to all D&I programs and initiatives. In line with this work, we recognise that women, men and gender diverse employees may experience gender inequality in nuanced ways, compounded by discrimination and experiences of disadvantage based on age, disability, ethnicity, gender identity, Indigeneity, race, religion and sexual orientation.
- Our Elevate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) 2020 – 2023 outlines our commitment to reconciliation as core to our culture.
- Our Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) Action Plan works to increase our science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM) workforce and student base, ensuring we have a fit for the future, diverse and gender-balanced talent pipeline. Our GEAP aims to complement, enhance and expand on the successes of SAGE at Swinburne.
- Swinburne Women’s Academic Network (SWAN) has been highly effective in supporting the development and advancement of women, by delivering programs focused on supporting academic promotions, mentoring, leadership development, grant-writing skills, and financial assistance for academics experiencing career interruption due to carer responsibilities.
- Safer Communities Programs, including Respect Now Always provides prevention, training, education, advice, support, intervention and risk management related to negative behaviours experienced by students on campus. GEAP strategies aim to leverage the success of this work, reinforcing our commitment to preventing and responding to sexual harassment.
- Family Violence Prevention undertaken at Swinburne aligns with the Victorian Government’s Free from Violence Action Plan and will sit under the GEAP. Swinburne is committed to supporting all staff affected by domestic and family violence. We acknowledge domestic and family violence can occur regardless of gender, cultural background, age, sexual orientation and religious beliefs. Our support and referral services are there to support all staff.
- Future Ways of Working Strategy fosters flexibility and workplace gender equity. As we implement our GEAP in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic we recognise its ongoing effects are not gender neutral and we aim to ensure that hybrid working and flexibility accommodates diversity.
- Gender Inclusion Initiatives undertaken including: Swinburne’s preferred name program; inclusive language guide, gender affirmation protocols, all gender bathrooms, dedicated Women and Queer safe campus spaces, parent/ family rooms, diversity and inclusion related awareness training are examples of initiatives and programs implemented, which we will continue to build on through the GEAP.
Swinburne’s Gender Equality Action Plan (GEAP)
At its heart, our GEAP steps out our commitment to transform the way we currently do things, as we work to embed gender equity in people processes and decision-making and across Swinburne.
Swinburne’s GEAP includes results of a workplace gender audit and strategies and initiatives for achieving gender equality for all our employees at Swinburne from 2022 to 2025.
Swinburne’s GEAP has been developed after an extensive consultation and engagement process with staff, facilitated by independent expertise from GenderWorks Australia, the Jumbunna Institute and the Australian Network on Disability.
Who is going to drive this GEAP within Swinburne?
We recognise that in order to make structural and cultural change gender equity is a collective responsibility. Our gender equity work and GEAP implementation is driven by four levels of accountability: Swinburne Council, senior leaders, people leaders and staff are all responsible for driving the actions outlined in the five-year GEAP.
Council provide overall leadership for gender equity strategies, monitoring results and holding Swinburne senior leaders to account for the completion of actions to support the creation of an equitable, inclusive and safe culture.
Senior leaders are accountable for driving change by actively championing and enabling gender equity interventions, building engagement, visibly communicating commitments, accountabilities and expectations, embedding gender targets and creating an equitable, inclusive and safe culture
People leaders are responsible for implementing and operationalising gender equity interventions and targets, communicating, commitments and responsibilities to work groups and creating an equitable, inclusive and safe culture.
Staff will actively contributing to implementing gender equity interventions and creating an equitable, inclusive and safe culture.
These four cohorts will be empowered by a comprehensive implementation plan, a sound governance structure, and a commitment to enhance systems, policies, processes and practises.
Swinburne’s Gender Equality Action Plan (GEAP) priorities
Our GEAP has been structured over four years to build capability and capacity in our workforce to drive gender equity outcomes.
Year 1 - 2022
Building the foundation
- Governance and accountability established and implementation plan initiated, with clear accountabilities supported by organisational wide engagement and communication plans.
- Diversity Dashboard report designed and implemented to inform decision making.
- Gender equity and diversity targets embedded and cascaded in all portfolio planning, programs and processes.
- GEAP and SAGE plans aligned and coordinated to optimise gender equity efforts.
- Flexible and hybrid ways of working, sexual harassment and family violence prevention work progressed.
- Indigenous cultural load is recognised and acknowledged.
Year 2 - 2023
Building capacity and capability
- Intersectional data roadmap developed.
- Tracking, measuring and reporting in progress against targets and actions.
- Senior leaders and managers consistently consider gender equality in decision making.
- Staff demonstrate understanding of and trust in complaints and reporting processes.
Year 3 - 2024
- Data change program implemented.
- Intersectionality embedded in recruitment and promotions processes.
- Recruitment, leadership and career development and advancement programs target priority diversity groups.
Year 4 - 2025
- Identify successful interventions and opportunities to further enhance, expand and embed gender equity
- Celebrate progress and successes.
- Review of data roadmap and change programs to ensure continuous improvements to data and reporting.
- Audit GEAP strategies, review meeting success measures and identify impacts.
Actions contained in our GEAP are designed to meet the 7 Workplace Gender Audit Indicators under the Act which are: Gender composition of workforce; Gender composition of the governing body; Equal Remuneration; Sexual Harassment; Recruitment and Promotion; Leave and Flexibility; and Gender segregation of the workforce. Further information on the indicators are detailed in our GEAP.
Maximising our gender equity efforts and supporting all genders
Our commitment to gender equity is inclusive of all genders. Our GEAP contains enterprise wide strategies that will progress gender equity for all genders across all our workforce. In addition, our GEAP is aligned with our Science Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) 2022 – 2025 Plan. Our SAGE plan focuses on gender equity in Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM). Both plans are designed to work together to improve equity, diversity and inclusion at Swinburne for everyone.