Athena SWAN

'Inclusive' is one of the four core values at Charles Sturt University. Our commitment to gender equity is vital to attracting the best researchers and academics.

"Women comprise more than half of science PhD graduates and early career researchers, but just 17% of senior academics in Australian universities and research institutes. The loss of so many women scientists is a significant waste of expertise, talent and investment, and this impacts our nation's scientific performance and productivity." - SAGE

About Athena SWAN

Established in the UK in 2005, Athena SWAN has a proven reputation for creating a gender inclusive workplace. In Australia, Athena SWAN is run by Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE), a partnership between the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering. SAGE is funded by its member institutions and the Commonwealth government under the National Innovation and Science Agenda.

Athena SWAN is an accreditation framework to address gender equity in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine disciplines (STEMM) in higher education and research. Members commit to adopting 10 key principles within their policies, practices, action plans and culture.

The Athena SWAN Principles

  1. We acknowledge that academia cannot reach its full potential unless it can benefit from the talents of all.
  2. We commit to advancing gender equality in academia, in particular addressing the loss of women across the career pipeline and the absence of women from senior academic, professional and support roles.
  3. We commit to addressing unequal gender representation across academic disciplines and professional and support functions. In this we recognise disciplinary differences including the particularly high loss rate of women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine.
  4. We commit to tackling the gender pay gap.
  5. We commit to removing the obstacles faced by women, in particular, at major points of career development and progression including the transition from PhD into a sustainable academic career.
  6. We commit to addressing the negative consequences of using short-term contracts for the retention and progression of staff in academia, particularly women.
  7. We commit to tackling the discriminatory treatment often experienced by transgender people.
  8. We acknowledge that advancing gender equality demands commitment and action from all levels of the organisation and in particular active leadership from those in senior roles.
  9. We commit to making and mainstreaming sustainable structural and cultural changes to advance gender equality, recognising that initiatives and actions that support individuals alone will not sufficiently advance equality.
  10. All individuals have identities shaped by several different factors. We commit to considering the intersection of gender and other factors wherever possible.

Athena SWAN @ CSU

In Australia, both research institutions and universities join the Charter with the expectation of working towards an Athena SWAN Award, beginning with a Bronze Institutional Award. CSU is part of the inaugural Australian group, Cohort 1, applying for the bronze award.

Following a two year application period conducted by a Self-Assessment Team (SAT) involving more than 30 CSU staff from across the institution, our application was submitted in March 2018. These applications are currently undergoing peer review and outcomes will be publicly announced December 5th 2018.

Athena SWAN Awards are granted for a four-year period. Institutions need to apply for re-accreditation, based on demonstrated progress against actions identified within the initial application.

Over the next four years, CSU has committed to 43 actions, developed to reduce gender inequity not only in STEMM but across the institution. These actions address issues identified in recruitment and induction; career progression and promotion; the gender pay gap; research; leave and flexible work arrangements; promoting inclusivity; and embedding the Athena SWAN principles within core business. These initiatives are outlined in the action plan [PDF].

Our participation augments the Leadership Development for Women program and the Senior Women's Leadership Forum. Key members of the SAT were also involved in the planning and development of CSU's Workplace Gender Equity Strategy (2018-2022), ensuring consistency and collaboration between the Strategy and Athena SWAN.

List of SAT Members

Donna Bridges Lecturer in Sociology School of Humanities & Social Sciences
Charmaine Carlisle Laboratory Manager Faculty of Science
Lauren Darley-Bentley Assistance Manager, Compliance & Policy Division of Student Administration
Linda Deravin Lecturer School of Nursing, Midwifery & Indigenous Health
Jane Heller Associate Professor School of Animal & Veterinary Sciences
Marta Hernandez-Jover Associate Professor School of Animal & Veterinary Sciences
Craig Hinley Manager, Equity & Diversity Division of Human Resources
Julia Howitt Senior Lecturer (Chemistry) School of Agricultural & Wine Sciences
Boyen Huang Head of School School of Dentistry & Health Sciences
Stacey Jenkins Lecturer in Management School of Management & Marketing
Stephen Kreuzberger HR Systems Manager Division of Human Resources
William Letts Associate Dean Academic Arts & Education Faculty of Arts & Education
Chelsea Litchfield Senior Lecturer School of Exercise Science, Sport & Health
Patricia Logan Course Director Faculty of Science
Jennifer Manning Associate Lecturer School of Nursing, Midwifery & Indigenous Health
Renai McArdle Senior Subject Administration Officer Faculty of Science
Faye McMillian Director, Djirruwang Program School of Nursing, Midwifery & Indigenous Health
Jim Morgan Professor in Engineering CSU Engineering
Kogi Naidoo Director, Learning Academy Division of Learning & Teaching
Danielle Ryan Senior Lecturer School of Agricultural & Wine Sciences
Sandra Savocchia Lecturer School of Agricultural & Wine Sciences
Kirsty Smith Project Manager Faculty of Science
Kelly Spuur Associate Professor School of Dentistry & Health Sciences
Nicholas Steepe Project Manager, Equity & Diversity Division of Human Resources
Cate Thomas Associate Dean (Academic) Faculty of Science
Janelle Thomas Research Officer Faculty of Science
Lucy Webster Sub-Dean Learning & Teaching Faculty of Science
Denise Wood Senior Lecturer, Course Design Lead Division of Learning & Teaching
Nicola Wunderlich Research Fellow School of Agricultural & Wine Sciences
Tanveer Zia Associate Professor in Computing School of Computing & Mathematics

Upcoming initiatives


12 Dec 2018 Athena SWAN
13 Feb 19 Why do we still need gender equity?
13 Mar 19 Unconscious bias
10 Apr 19 White (& other) privilege
8 May 19 TBC
5 Jun 19 Life (successes and challenges) as a male academic
12 Jul 19 TBC
14 Aug 19 TBC
11 Sep 19 Life (successes and challenges) as a female academic
9 Oct 19 TBC
13 Nov 19 Popular culture messages - how it creates our world
11 Dec 19 TBC

To access these webinars, please contact us.

Quarterly newsletters

A key part of the Workplace Gender Equity Strategy 2018-2022 and the Athena SWAN Action Plan is the ongoing communication and distribution of information to staff regarding equity principles across CSU. This will be done through a quarterly newsletter distributed to all staff, containing updates on the progress of gender equity initiatives, case studies, research findings and other relevant articles and information. The newsletter is currently underdevelopment, with the first to be released by the end of 2018.

Get involved

The journey toward gaining the Bronze Athena SWAN Award is for everyone at CSU. These are some simple ways you can make a difference.

Schedule meetings between 10am and 3pm

Many people don't work '9 to 5' and may have caring responsibilities. When setting meetings, give attendees enough warning so that they can make alternative caring arrangements.

Support return-to-work staff

Be understanding through your colleague's transition. Some benefits for new and expectant parents include return to work days, flexible work arrangements, breastfeeding on campus, and parental leave for adoption.

Support promotion

Know a woman whose abilities are not being recognised? Encourage them to apply for promotion or take up leadership opportunities. This might be as a coach or mentor. Help them to identify their unique strengths and to sell themselves to others.

Thoughtfully use images and language

Your choice of image and language send a message. Sometimes we inadvertently present a limited view of opportunity or expectation. Remember when emoji presented a limited diversity of women's careers?

Listen and reflect

When you're having a conversation and hear something that reinforces gender stereotypes, question or point this out. Speak up when faced with sexist or misogynist ideas.

Celebrate successes

Celebrate your colleagues' achievements and contribution to CSU values, goals and strategies. Recognise these for what they are, rather than reinforcing gender or diversity.

Contact us to find out more