Towards gender equity

Towards gender equity

Macquarie University launched its Workplace Gender Equity Strategy on International Women’s Day 2017. This sets out an ambitious two-year action plan for us to make real and sustainable progress in gender equity, diversity and inclusion.

Our bold vision is to lead the way for other universities and organisations, and society more generally, to create greater equality for women and men at work.

At Macquarie we take a broad and strategic approach to diversity and inclusion – focussed on building a workforce that truly reflects the diversity of our community, and creating an inclusive culture where everyone is respected, supported and progressing.

We ultimately want to see equality consistently reflected in the fabric of our University – in our structures, our policy, our behaviours and our culture; so we’re transforming the way gender equity has traditionally been approached. Working with a shared purpose to create real change, our leaders and teams aim to proactively challenge gender stereotypes and biases, build pipelines to better harness talent, and remove systemic obstacles to genuine equality of opportunity.

Learn how our Executive Group is leading the way.

Our commitments

We launched our strategy on International Women’s Day 2017 with one of the University’s largest ever staff engagement events. More than 900 people took part in 13 events across our campus. The interest and support for creating real change on gender equity has continued since then, with several Faculties, Departments and Offices forming their own diversity and inclusion committees to drive local gender equity initiatives.

Our first Gender Equity Summit held in September engaged gender equity champions across the University in shaping our ‘fixing the system’ approach, which is driven by evidence and research. In 2018 our all-staff survey will help to understand how and where our culture may be contributing to gender inequality and pinpoint where we need to focus our efforts to create a more inclusive workplace. We are now working with Macquarie researchers with relevant expertise to develop a training package for leaders and members of selection and promotions committees to foster inclusive practice and address issues such as bias (both conscious and unconscious).

Our work towards gender equity is led by our Gender Equity Strategy Committee (see below) which is co-chaired by Professor Sakkie Pretorius, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), and Nicole Gower, Director, Human Resources. The Committee is supported by our Gender Equity Self-Assessment Team (see below) which coordinates implementation of the strategy across the University.

In 2018, each member of our Executive Group has gender equity related key performance indicators, and is working to progress equality within their portfolio based on relevant workforce data. Leaders are central to achieving our strategy, and we are supporting them by building inclusive leadership into development programs including the soon to be launched Inspire program for new managers.

We have reviewed our recruitment policy and processes to identify potential for bias and are piloting inclusive recruitment initiatives including: making our advertisements and recruitment materials inclusive; anonymising applications; broadening our search processes to reach more diverse candidate pool; and developing a structured approach for negotiating starting salaries. We have also strengthened our contracts with external search providers, holding them accountable for delivering an appropriate gender balance to the relevant field in their candidate lists.

We analysed our workforce data at University as well as Faculty, Department and Office levels to identify and understand the ‘hot spots’ where we are losing women and are focusing our actions in these places. Our new Academic Promotions process was implemented, with more diverse criteria by which people can be promoted. A review of the 2017 promotions round and the new promotions criteria is being conducted with a particular focus on gender-related issues.

The University is participating in the SAGE Athena SWAN program (see below) which is designed to support the promotion, hiring, participation and retention of women in STEMM. We are targeting an award at the Institutional Bronze level, with a submission due in early 2019. In 2017, Macquarie conducted a pilot participating in the Franklin Mentoring program, which brought together women looking to progress their career in health and medical research with senior leaders who can help build a culture of greater diversity within the field. Following the successful pilot, we will continue to participate and expand our numbers in 2018.

We launched the Primary Carer Conference Support Scheme to assist academic staff who have primary carer responsibilities to attend and present at academic conferences. After feedback from parents and carers, we are making improvements to our policies and processes around taking leave and returning to work. A new online Carers Hub is being developed with information to support staff who have parental and caring responsibilities and their managers, and a Carers Network will be established in 2018. A number of areas of the University are piloting flexible working arrangements and in 2018 we will launch a new Flexible Work Policy and process with support for staff and managers.

We completed a comprehensive review of our gender pay gap at each level of the University, which highlighted inequity at the senior levels. We will now review our remuneration strategies and develop a more structured approach to discretionary payments. In recent examples of loading reviews and determination (at both Faculty and individual level), loadings have been adjusted to ensure equity between men and women.

Gender Equity Strategy Committee

Our work in building a culture of equity is led by members of our Gender Equity Strategy Committee:

Professor Sakkie Pretorius

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) and Co-Chair

Nicole Gower

Director of Human Resources and Co-Chair

Mark Broomfield

Director, Property

Neil Durrant

Faculty General Manager, Faculty of Arts

Corrinne Franklin

Lecturer, Department of Indigenous Studies

Kim Guerin

Director, Campus Life

Jo Hatton

Manager, Workplace Diversity and Inclusion

Professor Lesley Hughes

Pro Vice-Chancellor, (Research Integrity and Development), Distinguished Professor of Biological Science

Professor Barbara Messerle

Executive Dean, Faculty of Science and Engineering

Professor Anne Ross-Smith

Associate Dean, Curriculum and Quality Assurance, Faculty of Business and Economics

JoAnne Sparks

University Librarian

Professor Johanna Westbrook

Director, Centre for Health Systems and Safety Research, Australian Institute of Health Innovation

Professor Sherman Young

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Learning and Teaching)

Gender Equity Self-Assessment Team

Professor Lesley Hughes

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Integrity and Development), DVC Research and Co-Chair

Professor Sherman Young

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Learning and Teaching) and Co-Chair

Professor Shawkat Alam

Department of Law

Dr Albert Atkin

Department of Philosophy

Dr Nicholas Badcock

Department of Cognitive Science

Professor Amanda Barnier

Department of Cognitive Science

Pete Boyle

Acting CEO, U@MQ

Emily Brennan

Project Manager, DVC Research

Dr Mary Dahm

Centre for Health Systems and Safety Research

Professor Judith Dawes

Department of Physics and Astronomy

Dr Joanne Dawson

Department of Physics and Astronomy

Thom Dixon

Research Engagement and Impact Coordinator, DVC Research

Neil Durrant

Faculty General Manager, Faculty of Arts

Louise Fleck

Director, Research Office

Nicole Gower

Director, Human Resources

Professor Mariella Herberstein

Chair of Academic Senate, Department of Biology

Jo Hatton

Manager Workplace Diversity and Inclusion, Human Resources

Harriet Jones

Diversity and Inclusion Consultant, Human Resources

Associate Professor Rachel Kallen

Department of Psychology

Professor Candace Lang

Department of Engineering

Dr Mauricio Marrone

Department of Accounting and Corporate Governance

Dr Richard McDermid

Department of Physics and Astronomy

Dr Ronika Power

Department Ancient History

Professor Robert Reynolds

Department of Modern History, Politics and International Relations

Professor Alison Rodger

Head of Department, Department of Molecular Science

Dr Katrina Sealey

Head of Information/Data Central, Australian Astronomical Observatory

Professor Johanna Westbrook

Director, Centre for Health Systems and Safety Research, Australian Institute of Health Innovation

Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE)

To support our progress towards gender equity at Macquarie, we have signed up to be part of the SAGE Athena SWAN Pilot, along with 40 other Australian universities and research institutes. The Athena SWAN requires us to understand and interrogate our own context and gendered dynamics in relation to recruitment, retention, progression and university culture.

The Athena SWAN charter was first developed in the UK in 2005 – universities and departments can apply for Bronze, Silver or Gold awards recognising progress and impact. The The SAGE pilot (supported by the Australian Academy of Science in partnership with the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering) is adapting the Athena SWAN charter in Australia. All institutions in the pilot are applying for a Bronze award, and Macquarie is due to submit our application in March 2019.  To be successful at Bronze level, we must understand and reflect on our own progress and areas for improvement in relation to gender equity, and develop a 4-year action plan to address issues identified.

The SAGE pilot focuses on STEMM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine) as women are underrepresented in these areas at a national level. However, at Macquarie, we are using the Athena SWAN charter as a mechanism to inform our progress towards gender equity across the university. While there may be issues specific to STEMM disciplines that we will aim to address, the majority of actions and initiatives that are developed will be implemented across the university to ensure everyone benefits from this process.

Workplace Gender Equality Agency reports

In line with the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012, Macquarie submits its public report with the Workplace Gender Equality Agency. All universities are required to submit their reports by 31 July each year.

The 2017-2018 Workplace Gender Equality Agency Report is now available to be viewed. Macquarie University employees are invited to provide comments on the report to Jo Hatton, Manager, Workplace Diversity and Inclusion, by emailing All comments are confidential. If you have any issue with the accessibility of this report, please contact Jo Hatton.

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