ACU recognised as gender equality leader

Published: Wednesday 12th November 2014

ACU has been recognised as Employer of Choice for Gender Equality for the third time.

ACU has again been recognised for its leading-practise workplace supports for women and men and has been awarded a citation for Employer of Choice for Gender Equality.

The Federal Government’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) announced the award on Wednesday, 12 November. It was given after a rigorous assessment of the University’s practices that support the career development and the full participation of women and men in the workplace. 

The citation highlights ACU’s continued achievements in this area since the University was awarded with the EOWA Employer of Choice for Women citation in 2011 and 2012.

ACU Manager for Organisational Performance Kim O’Brien said the University’s flexible working arrangements had been a keystone in creating a workplace that sustained equity and career opportunity.

Results from the University’s 2014 myVoice staff feedback survey indicate that the flexible working arrangements are well-utilised by staff and, importantly, they are supported by their supervisors.

The University’s Mission and values endorsed the maintenance of a supportive and family-friendly workplace Ms O’Brien said, and this was reflected in workplace policies.  For example, generous provisions enable paid parental leave for birth parents (up to 52 weeks) and for non-birth parents (up to 40 weeks).  Measures are also in place to support new parents in returning to work. Earlier this year, the University also created new leave provisions that enable extra leave to be granted to support staff members who experience domestic or family violence.

“Over the past 13 years, ACU’s retention rate of staff who have taken parental leave has averaged  90 per cent, which is a wonderful achievement. Parental leave provisions are also available for men, and 100 per cent of the fathers who have accessed this option have returned to work at the University,” Ms O’Brien said.

ACU Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Craven said he was proud of the achievements the University has made since committing to making gender equality a formal priority in 2001.

“Women constitute more than 69 per cent of the University’s workforce, and are represented at all levels, including senior management where, for example, all four Executive Deans are women and we have two female Deputy Vice-Chancellors,” he said.

Professor Craven’s work in supporting women in the workplace also extends to his advocacy work as a White Ribbon Day ambassador.  The White Ribbon Day campaign raises awareness about violence against women.   

Director of WGEA Helen Conway said organisations that had received citation for Employer of Choice for Gender Equality were distinguished by their commitment to ‘doing’, rather than simply ‘talking’.

“They are driving the lasting cultural and organisational change that is essential for any organisation committed to maximising the potential of women and men,” Ms Conway said.