Not only is gender equality critical to an organisation’s success, it is also crucial for society as a whole. Research shows that companies and communities thrive with diverse perspectives and flexibility in thinking, which leads to higher levels of creativity and innovation. At UOW, we already have a range of strategies in place to achieve gender equality and we are committed to continual improvement.
Goal 5: Gender Equality
The University of Wollongong is committed to working towards the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through its governance, teaching and learning, community engagement, partnerships and research. The following initiatives are by UOW staff and students working towards SDG 5: Gender Equality.
Teaching & learning
Of students commencing were women
Of all graduates were women
Of senior academic staff are women
Of all medical graduates in 2022 were women
Students studying subjects about this goal
Advocacy & outreach
Media articles about this goal
Articles appeared in media outlets with a combined potential audience reach of 29M
Number of UOW research projects with women as lead investigators (2020)
Publications with international collaboration
of the international collaboration publications are with developing countries
Citations per publication (global average 1.4)
Publications in top 10% journals
2022 figures used unless otherwise specified.
Gender equality at UOW
UOW is committed to providing a diverse and inclusive workplace, and are proud of our culture that provides equal opportunity regardless of gender. We have adopted policies that support gender equality, the non-discrimination of women, transgender people, and the LGBTQIA+ community, and have developed workplace flexibility arrangements that support all genders and promote a healthy work-life balance. We are also committed to removing barriers to the selection, advancement and opportunities for people of all genders in the workplace, and have solid training packages in place.
Further, UOW has been recognised as one of the prominent organisations in Australia focused on gender equality in the workplace and providing meaningful support for men and women to achieve their career goals.
Preserving gender equality
UOW participated in the newly formed ‘Higher Education Senior Equity Practitioners Advisory Group on Gender and COVID-19’, a sub-group of Universities Australia. Universities participating in this group commit to adopting five common actions aimed at preserving gender equality as a priority during and after the COVID-19 crisis.
Further, UOW tacks and measure student data including women’s entry and likelihood of graduating compared to men. This data assists the University in identifying possible areas of emerging disparity, and helps inform future implementations of strategic and practice directions to close any gap.
Maternity and paternity policies
UOW's maternity and paternity policies enhance and support women’s work participation and work-life balance. They are contained in both the Academic and Professional Enterprise Agreements. UOW has generous participation schemes for women (and all primary carers) including the "Return to Work Grant" which is equivalent to 12 weeks of ordinary salary and has a greater than 90% take up rate at UOW. The return-to-work grant has been in place for over 10 years and this scheme is one of the most generous and flexible schemes in the higher education sector.
This program enables the primary carer to supplement their salary if returning part-time or to use the grant as an additional period of paid primary carer leave. Alternatively, they can have it added as a lump sum payment into a research account or choose a combination of these options. UOW also offers employees the option to return to a temporary part-time position at the completion of parental leave for up to 2 years.
UOW offers services to University students and staffs in terms of childcare. Kids Uni is an onsite childcare centre offering seasonal bookings for students which run from the start to the end of each session, to allow students with children to attend classes and complete assessments and exams.
In some cases, free, fully subsidised childcare is available for eligible students and staff. UOW also offers free Parent Rooms on campus, locations on the map provided, that provide a private space for breast feeding, bottle warming and nappy/diaper changing facilities.
Protection against reporting
UOW is committed to having sound and ethical corporate governance. It has policies and procedures that allow anonymous disclosure to raise concerns regarding unethical, unlawful or undesirable conduct, including discrimination pertaining to educational and employment disadvantage, while protecting those who are reporting such conduct.
Workplace gender equality
UOW has a spotlight on gender equity in the workplace. Each year, UOW is required to submit an annual compliance report to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA), to meet its obligation under the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012. We are also committed to removing barriers to the selection, advancement, and opportunities for people of all genders in the workplace and have solid training packages in place.
We are committed to pay scale equity and the measurement and elimination of gender pay gaps. UOW regularly measures and tracks pay scale gender equity and conducts extensive gender pay gap analysis by level, faculty, division, and school.
Set The Bar
The Safe and Respectful Communities (SARC) team has created training for staff at licensed premises in our local community, on how to address and respond to sexual harassment and sexual assaults in their venues. The Set The Bar initiative aims to educate learners on the underlying issues of sexual assault and sexual harassment. Set The Bar explores how gender inequality among other forms of oppression contribute to sexual violence in our community. Learners are asked to think about how they can respond to situations of gender inequality or disrespect of women in the future.
Women in STEM
The national Women in STEM Decadal Plan, developed by the Australian Academy of Science (AAS) in collaboration with the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (AATE), offers a vision and opportunities to guide organisations and stakeholders to achieve a transformative, systematic and sustained change towards gender equality in Australia’s STEM sector by 2030.
As a Champion organisation, the University of Wollongong has agreed to publicly align our gender equity journey with the Decadal Plan. The national Women in STEM Decadal Plan, developed by the Australian Academy of Science (AAS) in collaboration with the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (AATE), offers a vision and opportunities to guide organisations and stakeholders to achieve a transformative, systematic and sustained change towards gender equality in Australia’s STEM sector by 2030. As a Champion organisation, the University of Wollongong has agreed to publicly align our gender equity journey with the Decadal Plan.
Lucy mentoring program
Lucy is a leadership program for female students at UOW. The aim of Lucy is to motivate and educate women about the career opportunities in law by establishing relationships between students and mentors who have achieved success in their professional career. Mentors are drawn from the corporate, public and not-for-profit sectors.
"The Lucy program gave me unique access to some incredible and inspiring people in the legal industry. I gained not only a mentor, but a friend and a sounding board to chat about all those burning questions final year law students have about their career options. Lucy empowered me to build lifelong connections, be inquisitive, and value every conversation, and it opened the doors to exciting opportunities I never thought I'd have."
Alex Doust, Bachelor of Journalism/Law
Linking Women Network was established by the Employment Equity and Diversity Unit in November 2004. The purpose of the network is to provide the medium for dissemination of information, discussion of issues of particular interest to women and to provide the opportunities and encouragement for women from different areas of the university to meet and network.
Career revive initiative
UOW is a proud participant of the Career Revive Initiative, a Federal Government programme aimed to provide support for medium to large businesses, to attract and retain skilled women returning to the workplace after a career break. It has partnered with KPMG, who has provided expert advice and support by reviewing our current policies and practices, physical workplace and our corporate culture, and identifying any potential barriers that may prevent UOW from attracting talented women returning to work. UOW is the only university in Australia participating in this programme.
Gender equality and COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to reshaped our society and our institutions. These circumstances pose specific challenges for gender equality for our students and staff.
UOW participates in the ‘Higher Education Senior Equity Practitioners Advisory Group on Gender and COVID-19’, a sub-group of Universities Australia. Universities participating in this group commit to adopting five common actions aimed at preserving gender equality as a priority during and after the COVID-19 crisis.
Each year, UOW is required to submit an annual compliance report to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA), to meet its obligation under the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012. The Act requires non-public sector employers with 100 or more employees to submit an annual report for the preceding 12-month period ie, 1 April – 31 March. The report is comprehensive and contains a combination of qualitative and quantitative responses.
UOW has a history of meeting the minimum standards set by WGEA in relation to specific gender equality indicators. Organisations with 500 or more employees must have a policy or strategy in place that specifically supports gender equality to be eligible to meet this minimum standard.
Women in MBA
Women in MBA is an initiative aimed at improving the participation of women in Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs. UOW’s Sydney Business School provides financial support such as scholarships, guidance and advice and access to events. An MBA has a significant impact on career pathways and is particularly powerful in enabling middle-managers to progress to executive and board room roles.
Distinguished Professor Sharon Robinson is a co-leader of Homeward Bound’s Science Stream, a mentoring program supporting women in science from across the globe to strengthen their confidence to lead, build networks with other science leaders and gain support professionally and personally.
Trans and Friends Festival
The Trans and Friends Festival Illawarra saw about 1,000 trans and gender diverse people, their friends, families and allies come together to celebrate the richness of this diverse community. The day aimed to uplift the voices of the trans and gender diverse community and provide links to care and support.
Respect, consent and inclusion
Sexual abuse survivor and former Australian of the Year Grace Tame shared her experience as part of a packed calendar of events at UOW Respect Week. Grace Tame’s talk was part of five days of panel discussions, training opportunities for staff and students, and activities based around the themes of cultural respect, sexual harassment and assault, equity, diversity and inclusion.
Supporting women researchers
Established in 2013, the UOW Global Challenges Program aims to cultivate research excellence while improving equality & diversity, and supporting the next generation of research leaders. In 2019, 54 per cent of Project grants were led by women researchers & 50 per cent of Seed projects were led by Early Career Researchers. The Global Challenges model provides non-financial as well as financial support, including media and marketing, support writing award and grant applications, mentoring and relationship building and research development and advice from leaders.
The University of Wollongong has consistently demonstrated its commitment to gender equality. In the past three years, women have represented the majority of student enrolments at UOW.
- Women represented over 50% of commencing students who entered UOW between 2020 and 2022.
- Women also consistently represented between 54.72% - 55.80% of student enrolments at the University of Wollongong in the 2020 - 2022 period.
- Consistency in gender equality can also be observed in completions. Most completed qualifications (55.28%-55.86%) have been awarded to women between 2020 and 2022.
Women in international cycling
The UCI Road World Championships was the largest international sporting event ever to come to the Illawarra. The University of Wollongong (UOW) become an official UCI Bike City community partner, with UOW’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Patricia M. Davidson as a Wollongong 2022 Ambassador for the Championships. It was the first time in the history of the UCI Championships that the women and men would start the Elite time trial race on the same day and ride over the same distance, with female athletes opening the program.