Monash University achieves highest score for gender equity

Gender equity

Monash University has earned the National Health and Medical Research Council’s (NHMRC) highest score for gender equity policy.

The NHMRC requires that institutions have a strategy to address the underrepresentation of women in senior positions and implement policies and programs to support the progression and retention of women in health and medical research.

The University has successfully addressed all seven NHMRC criteria, achieving the highest possible score.

Monash President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Margaret Gardner AO, said the outcome was welcome recognition of the University’s endeavour to promote gender equality in the workplace.

“Diversity and equality are key to advancing the standards of excellence that are central to Monash University’s mission,” Professor Gardner said.

“As educators and researchers, we have a responsibility to challenge the biases, conditioning and assumptions that form many of the barriers to gender equity and embracing diversity.”

Monash is taking further proactive steps to attract and retain talented women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM) disciplines. In 2015, the University became one of the inaugural members of the SAGE pilot of the Athena SWAN program – designed to improve gender diversity within STEMM disciplines.  

Monash’s Athena SWAN team, comprised largely of academic staff, has begun identifying key gaps and ways to address them. One initiative, funded by the Athena SWAN program, is the Inclusive Leadership training. The training is designed to provide leaders in STEMM with the skills to develop personal awareness and insight around unconscious thinking patterns and biases and develop a more flexible and adaptive mindset.

Another program driven by the Athena SWAN team is transitional support for expectant and new parents before and after their period of parental leave. This initiative focuses not only on female academics but also includes group coaching sessions for new fathers in recognition of the increasing number of men who take on caring responsibilities, often with little reduction in their work fraction or access to a support network.