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

Athena SWAN is an accreditation framework to address gender equity in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine disciplines (STEMM) in higher education and research. 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.

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 @ Charles Sturt University

Charles Sturt was awarded an Athena SWAN Bronze Institutional Award in December 2018, and is one of the first Australian universities to receive this prestigious award. Following a two-year application period conducted by a Self-Assessment Team (SAT) involving more than 30 staff from across the institution, our application outlines 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].

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.

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 the Workplace Gender Equity Strategy (2018-2022), ensuring consistency and collaboration between the Strategy and Athena SWAN.

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 Charles Sturt. In addition to training and webinars, a quarterly newsletter distributed to all staff, will contain updates on the progress of gender equity initiatives, case studies, research findings and other relevant articles and information.

We’d love to hear of any gender equity initiatives and good news stories from your area, please email details to

Upcoming initiatives


As part of the Athena SWAN action plan, we will continue to communicate to staff regarding Athena SWAN and equity principles through regular webinars. Topics include unconscious bias, privilege, life as an academic, and popular culture messages.

These webinars will be advertised through What's New and other communication channels.

For more information, or if you have a topic you wish to present, please contact us.

List of SAT Members

Convener and Chair

Associate Professor Cate Thomas
Associate Dean (Academic)


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
Kimberly DoyleProject Manager, Equity & DiversityFaculty of Science
Jane Heller Associate Professor School of Animal & Veterinary Sciences
Marta Hernandez-Jover Associate Professor School of Animal & Veterinary Sciences
Stacey Jenkins Lecturer in Management School of Management & Marketing
Sarina Kilham Lecturer in Agricultural Extension and Rural Sociology School of Agricultural & Wine Sciences
Krishna LambertLecturerSchool of Nursing, Midwifery & Indigenous Health
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
Deborah MageeAssociate LecturerSchool of Nursing, Midwifery & Indigenous Health
Jennifer Manning Associate Lecturer School of Nursing, Midwifery & Indigenous Health
Annabel MathesonSenior LecturerSchool of Nursing, Midwifery & Indigenous Health
Alison MatthewsManager, Research Professional DevelopmentResearch Office
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
Deborah MunnsResearch Liaison OfficerResearch Office
Kogi Naidoo Director, Learning Academy Division of Learning & Teaching
Tracey ParnellLecturerSchool of Community Health
Danielle Ryan Senior Lecturer School of Agricultural & Wine Sciences
Sandra Savocchia Lecturer School of Agricultural & Wine Sciences
Kerry SilversonProject Officer, Student Leadership ProgramDivision of Student Services
Kirsty Smith Associate Director, Student Skills Division of Student Services
Sarah StensonLecturerSchool of Nursing, Midwifery & Indigenous Health
Nicholas Steepe Project Manager, Equity & Diversity Division of People and Culture
Cate Thomas Associate Dean (Academic) Faculty of Science
Thiru VanniasinkamLecturerSchool of Biomedical Sciences
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

If you’d like to get involved with the SAT, please contact the team.

Get involved

The journey toward achieving gender equality is for everyone. 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.

Contact us to find out more