SAGE Athena SWAN Bronze Accreditation achieved – February 2020

Federation University achieved the SAGE Athena SWAN Bronze Accreditation in February 2020 by promoting gender equity and gender diversity in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM).

SAGE Athena SWAN Bronze Accreditation

October 2018 update

The SAGE Athena SWAN project has surveyed and interviewed academic staff about gender equity in STEMM and across the University and created a draft 4-year action plan.

Build awareness of Athena SWAN at Federation University

  • Deans and Deputy Deans can sponsor discussion about gender equity at key school meetings.
  • Senior management can discuss gender equity at Federation University at key DVC, director and manager-level meetings.
  • Host SAGE Athena SWAN events in your school - morning and afternoon teas to discuss gender equity in STEMM and higher education in discipline areas and schools.
  • Include Athena SWAN as a standing item on School Board agenda, include updates in school newsletters, sharing the Athena SWAN fact sheets and October 2018 update.

What is the SAGE pilot and Athena SWAN?

  • Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) is national program promoting gender equity and gender diversity in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM).
  • SAGE has brought out the UK-based Athena SWAN Charter, an evaluation and accreditation framework that addresses the improvement of gender equity policies and practices in STEMM.
  • SAGE is run by the Australian Academy of Science in partnership with the Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE).

Australia needs women in science

In November 2014, the SAGE Forum  was attended by 140 leaders and policy representatives from Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM). Experts identified a need to address the under-representation of women in STEMM. The forum recommended the development of a program based on the Athena SWAN Charter which has been operating in the UK for 10 years and shown significant results in improving gender diversity and bolstering women’s leadership roles within STEMM institutions.

Athena SWAN offers Bronze, Silver and Gold awards in recognition of institutional capacity to eliminate gender inequity and a demonstrated commitment to bolster the hiring, promotion and retention of women, while also improving the workplace environment for people of all genders. Since 2011, medical research institutes in the UK have been required to achieve a minimum Silver Award to receive research funds.

SAGE pilot of Athena SWAN in Australia

In June 2015 and May 2016, SAGE released a call for applications for institutions to participate in the SAGE Pilot of Athena SWAN in Australia. Applications were competitively judged to ensure a wide range of institutional types and sizes are able to test the implementation of Athena SWAN in Australia.

SAGE was overwhelmed by the response from the sector and has accepted applications from a total of 40 institutions. This includes over half the university sector, with representation across the five university types (from Group of Eight to Unaligned), as well as medical research institutions and government research agencies. The pilot includes 30 (of 43) Australian universities, six medical research institutes and four government science organisations.

Commencing in September 2015, the pilot requires participants to collect, analyse and present data on gender equity policies and practices in STEMM departments, as well as identify gaps and opportunities for improvement. Participants will work towards an Athena SWAN Award at the Institutional Bronze level, which is a mandatory requirement for future Silver and Gold awards at the institutional and departmental levels.

SAGE Pilot participants have signed up to the Athena SWAN principles  and are now recognised as members of the SAGE Athena SWAN Charter in Australia.

Athena SWAN Awards in Australia

The Athena SWAN Charter provides a gender equity accreditation process that requires institutions to:

  • collect comprehensive data on their current gender equity standards, policies and practices
  • identify weaknesses and shortcomings
  • develop and implement plans to improve gender equity at all levels of seniority, for casual, full-time and part-time staff, as well as for students
  • submit an application for institutional and/or departmental accreditation with Athena SWAN at Bronze, Silver or Gold level, based on demonstrated improvements in gender equity over the course of two years.

Organisations are required to qualify for an institutional Bronze award before they become eligible to receive further Bronze, Silver or Gold awards at organisational and/or departmental level. There is also the potential to receive no award if the application does not meet the requirements.

Athena SWAN accreditation will be subject to rigorous peer-review from mid-2017, and qualifying organisations will receive Athena SWAN awards in early 2018. Accreditation is valid for four years (subject to annual administration fees).

How are we preparing for the SAGE Athena SWAN Bronze Institutional Award Accreditation?

  • Reviewing current progress (commenced Sep 2016) and forming a new governance structure and communication and action plans to meet the March 2019 submission timeline
  • Reviewing institutional evidence relevant to gender equity and diversity practices
  • Encouraging institutional engagement, dialogue and action to seek new and innovative ways to improve practices in 2019-2022

Contact us

Interested in getting involved with Federation University future activities or becoming a SAGE Athena SWAN advocate?

Ms Amy Hunter
Director, Research Innovation and Enterprise