Diversity and Inclusion

At La Trobe University, we have a long standing commitment to diversity, inclusion and social justice. Our students are amongst the most diverse of all Australian Universities and we are committed to providing a workplace where all staff feel valued, respected and supported to achieve their full potential.

We care about building a connected community that actively champions diversity and inclusion to help people thrive. We achieve this through supporting our people, valuing diverse thinking as a key driver of innovation, and holding ourselves to account in delivering a culture where equity is a way of life

La Trobe is committed to promoting equal opportunities and support for all students and staff, with a focus on six key pillars:

close up on arms with henna We are proud of the incredible diversity of our students. We strive to create an environment where our staff are aligned to the diversity of our students and we aim to maximise the potential of each staff member regardless of their ethnicity or cultural background.

  • Faith
    Our diverse students and staff body represent a variety of different religions and beliefs. As a University, we embrace and celebrate each other’s different cultural identities and look for ways to learn from each other.
  • Chaplaincy
    We are proud to provide religious facilities on our campuses. Each of our campuses provides Chaplains, and the La Trobe Chaplaincy can help students to contact and join local churches and meetings, clubs and groups on campus, and Christian marriage preparation and weddings.
  • Muslim prayer facilities
    All of our campuses provide Muslim prayer facilities. In particular, our Melbourne campus has separate prayer rooms, ablution facilities for men and women and congregational prayers are conducted on Friday lunchtimes.
  • Multi-faith calendar
    La Trobe recognises and celebrates the variety of cultures and religions our students and staff bring. Our Multi-Faith Calendar outlines days of significance for a range of different faiths and cultures.

man in wheelchair entering car to driveWe are committed to creating a workplace where different abilities are recognised, valued and celebrated. We care about providing a workplace where people with physical and/or intellectual disabilities, carers of people with a disability, and people experiencing and managing mental health issues are supported to thrive.

  • Disability Action Plan
    We strive to be exemplars for the sector in our commitment to equity and inclusivity for marginalised groups including people with disabilities.
    With approximately 7% of the student population identified through the enrolment process as having a disability or registering with the disability support services, our new Strategic Plan 2018-2020 aims to connect more students and communities to the world outside, while meeting the needs of our diverse student body and holding each other to account to work to the highest standards.

    This Disability Action Plan covers a number of short term outcomes over the next two years, with diversity as the key strategy in building a high performing workforce and re-orienting students towards learning outcomes.
  • Physical access and maps
    La Trobe aims to develop and maintain an inclusive culture that eliminates barriers to access and participation in work and study. Our campuses provide staff and students with accessible parking and access to buildings and restrooms for individuals with limited mobility.

female using optometry machine to examine another female's eyesWe are committed to achieving equality of opportunity in education and employment.

We strive to create and support a safe, equal and inclusive community, where staff and students of all genders have equal access to power, resources and opportunities, and are treated with dignity, respect and fairness.

One of the most important priorities we have set for La Trobe University is to achieve gender equity in all areas of our operation.

La Trobe University has a number of initiatives that drive gender equity, including:

  • Workplace Gender Equality Agency
    The University achieved this prestigious citation for 2016-2017 and for 2017-2018. This citation recognises La Trobe’s sustained efforts in to improve employment outcomes for women. Further information is available from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency.

    In accordance with the requirements of the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012, La Trobe University lodged its annual public report with the Workplace Gender Equality Agency on Thursday 25 July 2019.

    Download a copy of La Trobe University's 2019 report.
  • SAGE Pilot
    The SAGE pilot is an accreditation and improvement program for higher education and research organisations focusing on gender and other forms of inequality. The program was developed in response to the under-representation of women in science leadership. La Trobe is one of over 50 higher education and research institutions taking part in this program. Submissions are due in March 2019
  • Square the ledger
    In its 50th year, La Trobe partnered with the Victorian Women’s Trust to embark on a project to ‘Square the ledger’ by documenting and celebrating the ordinary and extraordinary lives of women who have walked the halls of the University — as students, educators, and administrators.

Message from Professor John Dewar, Vice-Chancellor: Gender equity at La Trobe

One of the most important priorities we have set for La Trobe University is to achieve gender equity in all areas of our operation. This is not just an institutional goal that has been set so that we can list gender equality as an undertaking in our strategic plan; it is something on which we are shining a very bright spotlight – so that we can be sure that we are doing something about the continuing imbalance in the benefits and opportunities available to people in our community.

While discussion about gender equity is important, we must follow up our words with strong and tangible action. That’s why I am dedicating more and more of my time to investing in projects and initiatives that make a difference in the daily working lives of people at La Trobe.

Being involved with the Male Champions of Change and continuing in my role as a gender pay equity ambassador with the Workplace Gender Equality Agency has helped me to learn more about the areas in which women’s opportunities continue to be limited, and has only strengthened my resolve to make a difference.

Like all Australians, I have been horrified by recent examples of violence against women in our community, and I am dismayed that in the twenty-first century women still have much less economic security than men. It’s simply not good enough. I am deeply committed to achieving gender equality in all areas of University life, including equal representation of women in senior leadership roles and across all schools and departments, and I have resolved to make gender equity a central element of whatever legacy I can one day leave for my successor.

I am proud of the initiatives we have taken to address gender equality at La Trobe in recent years, including our application for Bronze accreditation with the SAGE Athena Swan Program, being recognised as a Workplace Gender Equality Agency Employer of Choice, launching our 2018-2022 Gender Equality Blueprint, and our proactive stance on prevention of violence against women on campus.

While we have accomplished a lot, there is still much more work to do. Gender equality is everyone’s business, and I invite everyone at La Trobe to help put in place actions that can make the University a truly inclusive community.

Professor John Dewar


aboriginal man in middle of ceremony with white traditional paint on bodyWe proudly acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands where its campuses are located in Victoria. We recognise that Indigenous Australians have an ongoing connection to the land and the University values their unique contribution to both the University and the wider Australian society

  • Indigenous Employment
    We are committed to providing ongoing employment opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across all campuses and across all levels, both academic and professional. The University is currently updating its Indigenous Employment Strategy to help ‘close the gap’ in employment opportunities for Indigenous Australians.
  • Teaching, learning and research
    We have a long-standing commitment to teaching, learning and research within the area of Indigenous Australian studies. The area is multi-disciplinary and incorporates activities across all faculties. The Indigenous Strategy and Education Group acts as a focus for teaching and research activities and brings academics, researchers, students and Indigenous communities together with the primary goal of increasing interest and scholarly exploration of the historical and contemporary cultures, issues and stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

front of library at bundoor la trobe with pride week signs and students interactingWe are proud to foster a culture where all staff can bring their whole and authentic selves to work. For our LGBTIQA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Asexual) students and staff this means not having to worry that they won’t be accepted due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.

  • Transgender in the Workplace
    We do not discriminate in any way on the basis of sex or gender identity and are committed to providing a safe, supportive and respectful environment. La Trobe has robust policies and procedures to support staff members who are transitioning genders, including a comprehensive transition plan.
  • Gender Neutral Toilet Facilities
    As a community, we want to support our staff and students who are transgender, non-binary or gender non-conforming and providing appropriate facilities is an important step. We have 84 gender neutral or shared toilets across all campuses.

male helping young male child with readingWe recognise that our staff needs will change during the course of their lives. We foster a supportive and flexible workplace to achieve a better balance between work and family responsibilities

We have a wide range of initiatives to support our staff and students depending on their life stages, including childcare centres, breastfeeding spaces on all campuses, support for those affected by domestic violence and generous staff benefits, including paid parental leave and workplace that champion flexible work.

  • Flexible working
    We are committed to assisting staff with flexible work arrangements to help balance work, health, family, professional, study or other responsibilities. We believe that flexible work can benefit our whole University community. The University offers a range of different flexible working arrangements that enable staff to successfully balance their work commitments with their personal priorities.
  • Breastfeeding facilities
    The University has been an accredited Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace since 2010. We have rooms equipped with a refrigerator, sink, table and chair or bed to meet the needs of student and staff mothers continuing their work or study while breastfeeding.
  • Childcare
    The Children's Centre, located at Bundoora campus, provides childcare options for students, staff and community. The centre includes all day and sessional care, as well as an Autism Specific Early Learning and Care Centre.

We are committed to creating a work and study space where all human neurotypes (e.g., autism, ADHD) are recognised, valued, supported, and celebrated. We recognise that stigma, ableism, and inequality can create barriers to inclusion within neurodiverse populations.

La Trobe University has a number of initiatives that support Neurodiversity, including:

  • Neurodiversity at La Trobe resource hub
    This resource hub is part of the Health and Wellbeing site, containing specific information for students with minority neurotypes (Autism, ADHD, dyslexia, etc.). It provides resources for students which can help navigate university life.
  • The Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre (OTARC) 
    OTARC is Australia's first centre dedicated to autism research. It has a strong focus on research translation through the development of evidence-based tools. It collaborates with autistic people, other autism research centres and institutes both in Australia and internationally.
  • The Sylvia Walton Honours Scholarship is available to autistic students studying psychology offering financial support for an autistic student to undertake their honours year at OTARC.

For further information on La Trobe’s approach and commitment to diversity and inclusion, read our 2020-2030 Diversity and Inclusion Plan (updated early 2020).