Towards gender equity

Towards gender equity

Macquarie University gender equity data summary

Our journey so far

Macquarie University launched its first Workplace Gender Equity Strategy on International Women’s Day 2017, setting out an ambitious action plan for real and sustainable change towards gender equity, diversity and inclusion. Our Towards Gender Equity 2.0.strategy details our gender equity priorities, progress to date and future plans. The strategy outlines six key commitments, which drive our actions and ongoing progress towards real change:

  1. Building an equitable and inclusive organisational culture
  2. Embedding leadership commitment and accountability for Gender Equity
  3. Building our talent pipeline by attracting and recruiting more academic women
  4. Improving the representation of women in senior and leadership positions
  5. Establishing a workplace culture of flexibility
  6. Closing the gender pay gap

While these goals are not unusual, our approach to achieving change is. Our bold vision is to lead the way for other universities and organisations, and society more generally, to create greater equality for all genders 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 know that to make real progress, we need to transform the traditional approach to gender equity. Our approach is to 'fix the system' - meaning we're focusing our attention on the policies, systems, processes and cultures that create and maintain inequality. This means changing the way we do things.

We ultimately want to see equality consistently reflected in the fabric of our University. 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 about our Gender Equity priorities, progress and future plans.

Employer of Choice for Gender Equality 2019 -2020 (WGEA)

Macquarie is an accredited Employer for Choice for Gender Equity (EOCGE). The EOCGE accreditation is a national benchmark that covers all sectors and industries in Australia and is run by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency.

Criteria met by the University to achieve EOCGE recognition includes leadership, learning and development, gender remuneration gaps, flexible working, and other initiatives to support family responsibilities, employee consultation, preventing sex-based harassment and discrimination, and targets for improving gender equality outcomes.

“I am very proud of this achievement. It places Macquarie as a leader in gender equity initiatives and has a positive impact on our whole community. Our aim is to fix the causes of inequality, not the symptoms. So rather than operationalising one-off initiatives, we have focused efforts on actions for long-term systemic change.” Vice-Chancellor Professor S Bruce Dowton.

Macquarie University's EOCGE application is available here.

SAGE Athena Swan Bronze Award

Macquarie is a member of Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE), and a proud recipient of a Bronze Athena SWAN. The SAGE Athena SWAN Bronze accreditation recognises our commitment to advancing the careers of staff from diverse backgrounds and addressing the underrepresentation of women in Science, Technology Engineering, Mathematics, and Medicine. To achieve this internationally recognised award, we undertook a broad analysis of statistical and qualitative data to interrogate and understand our own context and the gendered outcomes of key processes such as recruitment, retention, progression as well as our university culture. In response to this analysis, we developed a 4-year action plan, which is included in our application.

Our SAGE action plan closely aligns with our Workplace Gender Equity Strategy, and we took a university-wide approach to the development of our action plan. Our 2019 Bronze application can be found here.

“The accreditation process at Macquarie has been highly collaborative, involving colleagues across the University. I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to achieving our SAGE Athena SWAN Bronze accreditation, and to the broader Macquarie community and industry partners for continued support to help close the gap. We know that we need to be bold and innovative to create real change for equity, diversity, and inclusion. Our focus is on addressing the causes of underrepresentation and inequality, not the symptoms. We’re already seeing the impact of this approach and will continue to make it a key priority for our University.” Macquarie Vice-Chancellor, S. Bruce Dowton.

The Athena SWAN charter was first developed in the UK in 2005. The Australian SAGE pilot (supported by the Australian Academy of Science in partnership with the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering) launched in 2016 and adapted the Athena SWAN charter for the Australian context.

Athena Swan Bronze Award logo

Macquarie University is a Women in STEM Decadal Plan Champion

The national Women in STEM Decadal Plan was launched by the Australian Academy of Science in collaboration with the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering in 2019 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, Macquarie outlined how our progress and actions towards gender equity align with and support the National Decadal Plan. Macquarie has made a significant commitment to prioritising gender equity, and we are already seeing the impact of our Workplace Gender Equity Strategy.

The women in STEM Decadal Plan provides a framework to ensure the STEM ecosystem is moving towards a shared vision. It outlines six opportunities for all stakeholders - government, academia, industry, education and the broader community - who have the power to act and create change. The six opportunities are:

  • leadership and cohesion
  • evaluation
  • workplace culture
  • visibility
  • education
  • industry action

More information about the national decadal plan can be found here.

Read Macquarie University's successful submission to become a champion for the national decadal plan.

Gender Equity Strategy Committee

Our work in building a culture of equity is led by members of our Gender Equity Strategy Committee, who monitor and provide regular updates on priorities and progress to the University community.

Professor Sakkie Pretorius

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) and Co-Chair

Nicole Gower

Director of Human Resources and Co-Chair

Mark Broomfield

Director, Property

Jo Hatton

Manager, Workplace Diversity and Inclusion

Professor Lesley Hughes

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

Pete Boyle


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

Professor Johanna Westbrook

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

Gender Equity Self-Assessment Team

Our Gender Equity Self-Assessment Team (GESAT) leads strategy implementation and has developed numerous change initiatives to improve the inclusivity of University policies, processes, and culture.

Izzy de AllendeWorkplace Diversity & Inclusion Coordinator
Albert AtkinSenior Lecturer, Department of Philosophy
Nicole MatthewsSenior Lecturer, Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies
Leigh BoucherSenior Lecturer, Department of Modern History, Politics & International Relations
Pete BoyleCEO, U@MQ
Emily BrennanProject Manager, DVC Research
Maria DahmResearch Fellow, Centre for Health Systems and Safety Research
Judith DawesProfessor, Department of Physics and Astronomy
Joanne DawsonLecturer, Department of Physics and Astronomy
Saveria DimasiVice-President University Services and Strategy
Thom DixonResearch Engagement and Impact Coordinator, DVR Research
Louise FleckDirector, Research Services
Nicole GowerDirector, Human Resources
Jo HattonManager, Workplace Diversity and Inclusion
Mariella HerbersteinProfessor & Chair of University Senate, Department of Biology
Lesley HughesPro Vice-Chancellor (Research Integrity and Development)
Harriet JonesWorkplace Diversity and Inclusion Consultant
Rachel KallenAssociate Professor, Department of Psychology
Candace LangProfessor, Department of Engineering
Mauricio MarroneSenior Lecturer, Department of Accounting and Corporate Governance
Richard McDermidARC Future Fellow, Department of Physics and Astronomy
Rebecca MitchellProfessor, Department of Management
Todd PhillipsIndigenous Workforce Development Coordinator, PVC (Indigenous Strategy)
Ronika PowerAssociate Professor, Department of Ancient History
Anina RichProfessor, Department of Cognitive Science
Alison RodgerHead of Department, Department of Molecular Science
Katrina SealeyHead of Research Data and Software, Australian Astronomical Optics
Lan SnellAssociate Professor, Academic Program Director, Global MBA
Johanna WestbrookProfessor, Director of Centre for Health Systems and Safety Research

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 2019-2020 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 issues with the accessibility of this report, please contact Jo Hatton.

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