Swinburne Vice-Chancellor Professor Linda Kristjanson AO spoke at a staff event celebrating International Women's Day 2019 and Swinburne’s recognition as an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality for 10 years by the Workplace for Gender Equality Agency.
It is wonderful to celebrate together the contribution we all make to gender equality at Swinburne.
It is my particular pleasure to publicly announce that we have been recognised officially as an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality by the Workplace for Gender Equality Agency for the 10th consecutive year.
I am truly delighted with this achievement. It highlights how together we are making Swinburne an organisation people are proud to belong to, and reinforces our commitment to strengthening workplace gender equality and inclusion.
This Friday marks International Women’s Day 2019. This year the theme is “Balance for Better.” It is a phrase which reminds us that gender balance drives positive change in society for every single one of us.
In light of this, it is fitting that we gather to celebrate our strong culture of gender equity and inclusion at Swinburne.
Driving gender equity at Swinburne
For 10 years we have voluntarily entered into the process to be recognised as an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality. We do this because diversity is a source of strength for us. Diversity enhances innovation by offering different perspectives, which leads to more innovative solutions, helping us push the frontiers of discovery. Advancing gender equity means all gender identities across all disciplines benefit.
We have many programs and initiatives at Swinburne that support all of us, and help us achieve our gender equity goals.
Many of you present this morning have played a role in positioning Swinburne as a leader in gender equity. My special thanks to the Science in Australia Gender Equity Steering Committee, Swinburne Women’s Academic Network and other working group members here.
Improving the STEMM gender gap
Just 20% of senior academics in STEMM disciplines in Australian universities are women. At Swinburne, women in STEMM areas make up 30% of academics.
We are taking action to change this.
Our Science in Australia Gender Equity four-year action plan has a particular focus on improving the STEMM gender gap.
Our Swinburne Women’s Academic Network (SWAN) has assisted our women in academia since 2014. This network has provided peer support and mentoring, and the result has been astounding – a record number of females are applying for academic promotion to senior leadership roles.
We have introduced 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.
A detailed analysis across the university is also underway to address the gender pay gap.
In 2017, we introduced women in STEM fellowships so that some of our amazing women can focus on research and maintain job security.
Supporting working parents
In October 2016, our parental leave options were extended to primary carers of all genders. I am pleased we have been receiving more enquiries from men about the parental leave options they are entitled to. We equip all parents with detailed parental leave information kits before they leave, and promote flexible working arrangements upon their return.
The on-site school holiday program and the parents’ rooms across our campuses, are other ways we’re removing barriers our mothers and fathers might face returning to work.
A whole-of-university culture
We are seeking to build a whole-of-university culture that supports gender equity through our commitment to zero tolerance for gender-based harassment, sexual assault and bullying.
Our policies and procedures support our people who may be experiencing family violence, especially through leave options. We empower people to understand the importance of gender equality and be leaders in the prevention of violence.
The MATE Bystander Awareness program is one example of how we are doing this – a training program that equips all of us with the tools to stand up against violence in the workplace and society.
Swinburne is driving systemic and cultural change for the better. There are still many opportunities ahead, however, to strengthen what we already have in place to advance gender equity.
We all have the responsibility to be courageous and stand up against violence and together we can improve our workplace for all genders.
Thank you for making Swinburne your Employer of Choice for Gender Equality and for the part you have played in helping us achieve this recognition.