I’d like to invite your contributions to an important gender equity initiative that UWA is engaged in – the Athena SWAN program.
This international program provides accreditation to institutions that actively support gender equity in the science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) disciplines. A pilot is being supported by the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) initiative of the Australian Academy of Sciences. The pilot includes twenty-five universities, five medical research institutes and two government agencies.
Athena SWAN is an important way UWA can ensure equitable access and contributions to the education and research activities of the university. It will also position UWA, our academics, students, graduates and research outcomes for broader recognition with the community, employers and funding bodies. Whilst focusing on STEMM, Athena SWAN provides us an opportunity for broader reflection and potential extension of initiatives across other disciplines.
It is useful to note that in the UK Athena SWAN accreditation has been linked to research grant funding. My participation in the NH&MRC Women in Science Committee provides an avenue to influence the national debate in this regard.
To achieve accreditation UWA must make a submission detailing evidence of our policies, processes and performance. A comprehensive data collection exercise is almost complete. Analysis will help us understand current performance and inform development of initiatives to improve gender equity across staff and student bodies.
Over coming months the UWA Athena SWAN team will be seeking broad input from across the university to help understand and respond to findings. Peer review of applications will commence in mid-2017 with qualifying organisations receiving awards in early 2018.
I’d like to thank all of you who have provided invaluable input so far and look forward to collaborating with you over coming months as we prepare our submission.
Professor Dawn Freshwater
Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Registrar
More information about Athena SWAN and SAGE can be found at http://www.sciencegenderequity.org.au/ or http://www.spp.uwa.edu.au/strategy-planning/athena-swan