SAGE Athena Swan at La Trobe

In recognition of the University's significant and ongoing commitment to gender equality, on 23 September 2019, La Trobe University received an Athena SWAN Bronze Institutional Award from Science in Australia Gender Equality (SAGE).


Athena SWAN is an evaluation and accreditation program that has been running for almost two decades in the UK, with tremendous success in enhancing gender equity and diversity in STEMM disciplines. It is underpinned by a Charter of principles of gender equity, diversity and inclusion of underrepresented groups.

In Australia, the program is being delivered by Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE), an initiative of the Australian Academy of Science with the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering.

La Trobe joined SAGE in 2015 and formed part of the second cohort of institutions to apply for a Bronze Award which recognises an institution’s commitment to advancing the careers of women, trans and gender diverse individuals in STEMM disciplines in higher education and research. Achieving a Bronze Institutional Award requires an institution to demonstrate that it:

  • Understands the current state of gender equity in its STEMM disciplines
  • Understands the institutional structures, systems, and culture which contribute to gender inequity in its STEMM disciplines
  • Has a four-year action plan to address gender inequity in its STEMM disciplines.

Why did we sign up?

Athena SWAN is the most comprehensive and systematic gender equality scheme in the higher education and research sector. La Trobe University, with its longstanding commitment to access, inclusion and diversity, saw that this scheme would help the University realize its commitment to achieving gender equality in all operations.

While the program is specifically about addressing gendered barriers in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM), La Trobe has committed to applying the program to all disciplinary areas. As a University, we are proud of our commitment to positive change and our ambition is to be an exemplar in our sector.

What does our participation look like?

The application for Bronze accreditation was a huge undertaking over three years, involving many people across the University including the 50+ members of our Self-Assessment Team, the Project Managers Dr Natasha Weir and Gina Pederick. The SAGE Steering Committee, comprised of senior leaders, ensured oversight of all gender equality activities and launched several initiatives, including The Women’s Academic Promotions Support Program, The Tracey Banivanua Mar Fellowships and The Carers Travel Support fund.

Post accreditation, a SAGE Implementation Group has been established comprised of key senior leaders. This Group, listed below, is responsible for the implementation of the University’s four-year SAGE Athena SWAN Action Plan.

  • Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research and Industry Engagement (DVRIE) (Project Sponsor and Chair)
  • Chief Financial and Operations Officer
  • Pro Vice-Chancellor, SHE
  • Pro Vice-Chancellor, ASSC
  • Executive Director, Research Office
  • Director, Planning and Institutional Performance
  • Director, Culture, Leadership and Capability
  • SAGE Project Manager
  • Senior Advisor DVRIE

If you’d like to know more about SAGE visit their website and for more information about Athena SWAN at La Trobe, please contact Dr. Natasha Weir, SAGE Project Manager