SAGE Athena Swan at La Trobe

La Trobe is pleased to announce that work to implement the SAGE Athena Swan Charter at La Trobe, which will help us create a more gender inclusive and diverse workplace, is underway.

La Trobe is one of forty Australian universities, medical and publicly-funded research agencies taking part in this prestigious national program. However, La Trobe is one of only two institutions that have committed to apply the Charter's principles of gender equity, diversity and inclusion of underrepresented groups across all of our disciplinary areas, not only in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM). As a university we are proud of our commitment to positive change and our ambition to do more than just the minimum.

Why did we sign up?

La Trobe signed up to the Athena Swan Charter because we need to play our part in driving the transformational change that is needed to address gender inequality in our communities: women comprise more than half of science PhD graduates and early career researchers, but only make up 17 per cent of senior academic positions in Australian universities and research institutes. While this problem is not unique to La Trobe, as a university we are determined to play a leading role in striving for substantive equality.

The Athena Swan Charter

The Athena Swan Charter is based on ten key principles. La Trobe is committed to adopting these principles within our policies, practices, action plans and culture.

  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 (STEMM).
  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.

What does our participation look like?

La Trobe has established a Self-Assessment Team (SAT) comprising more than fifty professional and academic staff members with diverse life experiences from across the University. The group is co-chaired by the Vice-Chancellor and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research).

Over the next two years, our SAT will undertake research and develop action plans to provide practical solutions to the issues that we identify. The University is committed to reflecting on our current standing with honesty, and to implementing meaningful actions that will create long-lasting change.

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, Research Gender Equity Project Officer.