Elizabeth Broderick delivers the keynote address at the Athena SWAN celebration at UOW. Photo: Paul Jones

UOW reflects on gender equality at Athena SWAN celebration

UOW reflects on gender equality at Athena SWAN celebration

Elizabeth Broderick praises University's push for gender equality in STEMM

Guests and staff from across the University of Wollongong recognised the organisation’s work in gender equality and diversity during a celebration for the Athena SWAN Bronze Institution Award on Wednesday (18 September).

Elizabeth Broderick AO, Australia’s longest-serving Sex Discrimination Commissioner, delivered the keynote address, in which she congratulated the University on its ongoing efforts to level the gender playing field, while also recognising that all organisations must continue to push for equality among all employees.

In December 2018, UOW was awarded the prestigious Athena SWAN Bronze Institution Award from Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE), which recognises the University’s commitment to gender equality in science, technology, engineering, medicine and mathematics (STEMM).

Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Wellings CBE and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Professor Jennifer Martin AC hosted the event, which also featured presentations from Professor Theo Farrell, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts, Dr Sharon Quah, Chair of UOW’s Ally Network, and Professor Paul Chandler, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Inclusion and Outreach). The presentations highlighted the University’s work in gender equality, and also focused on intersectionality with feminism and issues affecting Indigenous Australians.

Professor Wellings told the crowd of more than 100 UOW academics and professional services staff that gender equality was embedded in the University’s values.

“Organisations thrive when all employees are given the opportunity to achieve their goals and make a meaningful contribution,” Professor Wellings said. 

“Gender equality is critical to an organisation’s success and crucial for society as a whole. We are working hard to ensure that message is conveyed to all staff and students, particularly in the traditionally male-focused STEMM disciplines. 

“We are thrilled to be recognised as a leader in this area with the Athena SWAN Bronze Institution Award."

UOW Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Wellings speaks at the Athena SWAN celebration at UOW. Photo: Paul Jones

Ms Broderick, an expert in gender discrimination and equality, delivered an inspiring keynote address in which she spoke of her time as Sex Discrimination Commissioner. She congratulated the University on its achievements in this area but said we must all continue to work to promote gender equality, diversity, and inclusion for all.

Throughout her career, Ms Broderick has brought together captains of industry, sport, governments and Defence Force chiefs to address gender inequality in Australia and beyond.

As Australia’s longest serving Sex Discrimination Commissioner (2007-2015), Ms Broderick worked to break down structural and social barriers faced by women and men, and to promote gender equality. Her review into the treatment of women in the Australian Defence Force led to sweeping cultural reforms.

In February 2019, the University was recognised by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) as Employer of Choice for Gender Equality. The WGEA is an Australian Government statutory agency created by the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012

As a large organisation with more than 2300 staff, UOW understands the value of celebrating diversity and integrating inclusive practices into all areas of employee engagement, including recruitment, learning and development, and leadership.

UOW has implemented and actively promotes a number of policies, strategies, and initiatives to enhance gender equality, including flexible work arrangements, generous paid parental leave, on campus childcare facilities, mentoring workshops, and targeted development programs. 

The Athena SWAN celebration at UOW. Photo: Paul Jones