Advancing gender equity in the face of COVID-19

Against a backdrop of global upheaval, unrest and uncertainty due to COVID-19, we remain committed to supporting diversity and pursuing equity and inclusion.

Position paper

Monash’s Athena SWAN Committee has developed a position paper, Advancing staff equity in STEMM in the face of COVID-19 which identifies the emerging equity impacts on University staff and presents key risks and opportunities across a range of areas including:

  • Employment security
  • Unconscious bias in decision-making
  • Risk of further widening the gender gap in STEMM disciplines
  • Flexible working
  • Increased caring responsibilities for parents and carers
  • Long lasting impacts of flexible work practices
  • Reduced and uneven participation in career building opportunities
    Impact on student evaluation and SETU scores

The paper further articulates a range of proposals to safeguard the gains made in retaining and supporting women and other under-represented groups in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM) at Monash. The proposals are equally applicable to HASS disciplines if areas deem them relevant to the potential impact of COVID-19 and complement strategies in place to advance gender equity in the HASS context.

Our commitment

  • We commit to advancing gender equality during and post the COVID-19 crisis
  • We commit to communicating all relevant information relating to factors affecting the retention, support and promotion of our staff
  • We commit to identifying and addressing existing, new and emerging unconscious and conscious biases that are likely to arise during and after the pandemic
  • We commit to addressing unequal gender representation across academic disciplines during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this, we recognise discipline-differences including:
    • The particularly high loss rate of women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM) under business-as-usual scenarios.
    • The need to actively monitor changes and ensure a disproportionate number of women aren’t lost from STEMM disciplines as a result of pandemic circumstances.
  • We commit to identifying, acknowledging and removing where possible, any additional obstacles generated by additional caring and parenting responsibilities, in particular when assessing productivity for the purposes of career progression.

For further information

Please contact Staff Equity and Diversity, Monash HR at or call 03 9902 0246.