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Athena SWAN is making a positive impact on gender equity

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7 September 2017

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Professor Michael Morgan, Dr Lucie Joschko, Dr Mike McDonald, Dr Caroline Gurvich, Professor John Carroll, Dr Aldeida Aleti, Dr Susie Ho

Last Tuesday, as part of Diversity and Inclusion Week, the Monash University Athena SWAN Self-Assessment Team shared its preliminary findings and insights with the broader Monash community.

In his opening address, Professor John Carroll, Dean of Biomedical and Psychological Sciences and Self-Assessment Team Chair, spoke about the Athena SWAN objectives to advance gender equity in science, technology, engineering, medicine and mathematics (STEMM) and improve the participation of women in these disciplines.

"At Monash, more than half of all academic staff fall within the broad definition of STEMM and of the 20 STEMM departments, 14 currently have a critically low proportion of women in senior roles at less than 30 per cent. While we have a lot of programs and initiatives to advance women’s careers we can and must do a lot better” said Professor Carroll.

Panel members spoke about inclusive culture, policies and practices for recruitment, promotion, achievement relative to opportunity as well as flexible work and support for parents and carers. The event further highlighted how the University might take a more intersectional approach to gender equity, recognising that other facets of identity also play a part in shaping staff experiences.

Professor Carroll emphasised that Athena SWAN was a unique accreditation program encouraging participating institutions to honestly and methodically reflect on their existing policies, programs and practices, considering how these can better support women and grow truly inclusive cultures.

‘This isn’t a “tick-box” exercise but a process through which we can pinpoint our gaps, identify opportunities for positive change and develop a roadmap to achieve greater gender equity in STEMM disciplines and beyond’ Professor Carroll said.

Monash now moves into the next phase, developing an application for the Athena SWAN Bronze award and a four year action plan.

For more information about how we strive towards gender diversity in STEMM disciplines and beyond, visit our Gender Equity website.