Our progress

Swinburne has taken a number of practical actions to support gender equity in science. We are proud to be an inaugural Athena SWAN Bronze Award recipient and to implement a four-year action plan to drive the advancement of women and diversity in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM). We are an equal opportunity employer, and have been recognised by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) as an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality many times.

Swinburne is working to develop cohesive gender equity strategies, from our outreach programs to the provision of employee resources and support, including encouraging fathers to consider taking parental and carers leave, and setting targets around our gender pay gap and increasing the number of women in STEMM.

Gender equity in action

From September 2015 to March 2018, Swinburne collected data on current student and staff practices and policies to ensure identification and mitigation of any barriers to women in (STEMM) disciplines. Focus groups were also conducted across all academic STEMM areas to seek input on how to better support women in STEMM.

The results were shared with the Swinburne community in September 2018 and form the basis of our four-year SAGE Action Plan. Many projects identified in the SAGE Action Plan have commenced. 

We review the previous years’ data regularly to monitor and measure progress in how we support, advance and retain women in academia and embrace gender equity and intersectionality. We share the analysis with staff and students and actions in Q3 & 4 and recommend to our Executive Group action areas for priority attention.

A copy of the SAGE Action Plan (2019-2022) and original full submission can be found below.

School holiday program

Swinburne offers a suite of successful school holiday programs for primary school-aged children at the Hawthorn campus. These programs initiated through our SAGE action plan, have run in most school holiday periods since July 2017.

The program is available for the dependants of Swinburne employees, contractors, students and their friends. These programs are offered during all Victorian public school holiday periods, except in December.

Bookings can be made online here

Parents' rooms

Swinburne is always seeking ways to improve services and facilities for students and staff who need to bring their children on campus. As part of the SAGE action plan, we endeavour to remove any barriers that may prevent women in particular from being present at Swinburne. For example, we have parents' rooms available at our Hawthorn campus in the Engineering building (EN611e), in SPW, and in Luton Lane (2L006c), as well as at our Wantirna campus (WG109). Work is underway to refurbish our Croydon parent's feeding room.

Workplace Gender Equality Agency

Swinburne consistently complies with WGEA reporting requirements. We have been recognised as an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality many times, and continue to strengthen gender equity initiatives through our award-winning SAGE Action Plan (2019-2022).

Vice-Chancellor’s Women in STEM Research Fellowships

In October 2016, Swinburne offered a suite of five ongoing prestigious Vice Chancellor's Research Fellowships for women applicants in STEM. Four women were appointed in July 2017, and a fifth in October 2019.  The Fellowshipsprovide women with the opportunity to fully focus on research early in their careers. Having the security of ongoing research and a teaching position is crucial in ensuring we retain our excellent women in STEM.

Parental leave entitlements

In October 2016, we extended current parental leave entitlements (staff login) to primary carers (of all gender identities). In particular, we encourage fathers to take parental leave and support a variety of flexible work options. 


We offer a Women in STEMM scholarship program for undergraduate students in the Faculty of Science Engineering and Technology (FSET).

Networking groups

We've established a Women in STEMM networking group for undergraduate FSET students, and have Women in Engineering and Women in ICT groups.

Diversity targets

We’ve established diversity targets for different areas of the university, including the Engineering Practice Academy. We have also recruited for women-only senior leadership and academic roles.

Future initiatives

We will continue to be guided by best-practice and identify gaps and opportunities for improvement. Future SAGE initiatives we are looking into include:

  • establish Executive group targets for working towards gender equity in leadership representation and reducing the pay gap
  • recruitment processes and education to enable reporting, evaluation, and equity and transparency to be embedded
  • more breastfeeding and unisex bathroom facilities
  • options for additional childcare on campus, including occasional care, extra parents’ rooms and holiday programs
  • options to support academics with carer responsibilities when engaged in research-related travel
  • programs to support academic women leaders and early-career researchers
  • strategies to attract more women into our STEMM degree programs
  • an Athena SWAN Advocate program
  • PhD student and Swinburne-wide equity and inclusion survey.

Upcoming events


  • International Women’s Day celebration (5 March) featuring panel discussion on intersectionality
  • Release of SAGE data analysis, insights and action plan progress (17 September)
  • SAGE action plan showcase: impacts and outcomes (24 November)

Past events



  • Intersex Human Rights  Australia executive co-director Morgan Carpenter as part of Swinburne Pride March– 17 October 2018
  • SAGE results celebration and forum – 3 September 2018


  • Intersectionality 101: What is it and what can Swinburne do about it? - 19 July 2017
  • STEMM Gender Equity and Diversity focus groups - 19 June-4 July 2017
  • Professor Tom Welton presents SAGE: going for bronze, then silver and gold - 13 January 2017


  •  - November 2016


  • SAGE information sessions - November 2015