ACU wins Athena Swan Bronze Award

ACU has been awarded an Athena Swan Bronze Award, in recognition of the university's commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion.

An initiative of the sector-leading Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE), Athena Swan is the world's only internationally recognised accreditation program driving organisational progress towards equity, diversity and inclusion. It is an evidence-based and impact-focused framework that enables participating institutions to develop customised approaches that achieve systemic, structural and cultural change, measured against international benchmarks.

The Athena Swan Bronze Award is the first, foundational level of accreditation in SAGE's equity, diversity and inclusion framework, recognising ACU's successful analysis of the barriers preventing equity, diversity and inclusion, and the creation of an action plan to tackle and dismantle these barriers.

Through our analysis, the top five barriers have been identified as follows:

  • Support for career development and progression through professional development and performance appraisal.
  • Support for parents and carers (including childcare).
  • Embedding inclusiveness in the university's culture.
  • Understanding and improving the experience of staff who experience bullying, harassment, sexual harassment, and discrimination in the workplace.
  • Ensuring the availability of flexible work for all staff members and managing potential impact on career opportunities.

Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Zlatko Skrbis said the university had prepared a detailed action plan. It includes a commitment to track our progress which will be reported to the Vice-Chancellor's Advisory Committee and Senate.

The plan is part of ACU's greater commitment to gender equality, diversity and inclusion (GEDI). Details about our programs of work, ACU's Athena Swan application and policies are available here.

"Addressing gender equity and diversity is not only the right thing to do, it is aligned to our mission, our values and our vision to enable flourishing lives, foster thriving communities and forge an ethical future," Professor Skrbis said. "Furthermore, these principles have been demonstrated to have good outcomes for business, innovation and employee recruitment and retention.

"The Athena Swan Bronze Award is the result of hard work and rigorous analysis. My thanks to the self-assessment team who led this work, for their passion and commitment to bring this award to life. It is up to all of us to ensure this work continues."

Dr Janin Bredehoeft congratulated ACU on reaching this milestone in their equity, diversity and inclusion journey.

"It's important to appreciate how much commitment is required of an institution before it can earn an Athena Swan Bronze Award. This Award recognises the first major step has been taken in a difficult and ongoing process of improvement. It shows ACU's leadership and staff are determined to improve their workplace culture and make the organisation a place where everyone can thrive," Dr Bredehoeft said.

"The Athena Swan Bronze Award recognises that ACU has done deep work to assess the barriers to equity, diversity and inclusion that staff are facing, and have put in place a workable plan to dismantle those barriers. This means much more than giving underrepresented people a 'leg-up' - it means working to change the systems, not the people.

"The Athena Swan Charter is internationally recognised as the benchmark framework to improve equity, diversity and inclusion. This accreditation positions ACU amongst global peers who are using best-practice program design.

"My huge congratulations to the team who led this work, and all at ACU for their achievement."

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