Murdoch joins nationwide gender equity drive

November 28, 2017

Professor Eeva Leinonen (right) with Dr Wafa El-Adhami from SAGE

Equity program: Professor Eeva Leinonen (right) with Dr Wafa El-Adhami from SAGE

Murdoch University has joined a national initiative to champion gender equity and diversity in Australia’s higher education sector.

The Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) pilot program works with institutions to develop actions, which address the issues and barriers to gender equity.

SAGE has adopted a UK-tested accreditation program, known as the Athena SWAN Charter, to help its member institutions develop best practices in recruiting, promoting and retaining women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM).

Murdoch successfully applied to join the initiative after demonstrating its progress in addressing issues around gender equity and developing policies and strategies that are closely linked to the academic areas of STEMM. Murdoch has also made a commitment to the ten principles of Athena SWAN.

Murdoch University Vice Chancellor Eeva Leinonen said working through the scheme will have a positive impact on Murdoch’s students and staff.

“Supporting our talented women to reach their full potential is a strategic priority for Murdoch. Adopting the SAGE pilot will help us to develop best practices in recruiting, promoting and retaining women in STEMM subjects,” Professor Leinonen said.

“The benefits for our staff will flow onto our students supporting us in our ambition to contribute to inclusion for everyone at Murdoch, and to promote equality and diversity in society.”

As part of the initiative, a self-assessment team made up of Murdoch staff from across all areas of the University will collect and analyse existing data on the recruitment, pay, development, promotion and the retention of women at Murdoch. The team will also commission a survey to explore areas for future development.

Action plans will be developed and implemented and ongoing progress will be monitored by this team, which will be chaired by Professor Parisa Bahri from Murdoch’s School of Engineering and Information Technology.

Deputy Vice Chancellor Education Romy Lawson said as well as addressing gender equity issues in its initiatives, Murdoch would examine equity and opportunity around race, culture and sexuality and its intersection with gender.

“We are committed to developing the diversity of our people,” Professor Lawson said.

“Through our engagement in the SAGE pilot, Murdoch aims to provide a solid foundation for promoting an inclusive environment across the whole university.”

Murdoch is one of four new member organisations of the SAGE pilot scheme. The new additions brings the total number of participating higher education institutions to 45, made up of 33 universities, six medical research institutes and six research agencies.

Dr Wafa El-Adhami, Executive Director of SAGE, said the pilot will help drive equality and diversity systematically at Murdoch.

“It will provide a platform that enables, encourages and sustains transformation at the University,” she added.

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Media contact: Jo Manning
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