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UoN a national leader in gender equity

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The University of Newcastle (UoN) has been recognised as a national leader in gender equity and Indigenous participation.

Following strict benchmarking and peer review by Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE), the Hunter educational facility become the first organisation in Australia to achieve five “Cygnet” awards.

The accolades measure and validate efforts by institutions to reduce and remove barriers to gender equity, diversity and inclusion.

Professor Jay Horvat, Dr Ayanka Wijayawardena, Dr Leila Momenzadeh, Professor Jennifer Milam and Vice-Chancellor Professor Alex Zelinsky.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Alex Zelinsky AO said he was both delighted and proud of the honour.

“We know we’re a stronger and more successful university if we have a diverse and inclusive workforce,” he explained.

“Supporting everyone to reach their full potential is critical to ensuring that.

“The more barriers we remove, the brighter the future is for our university and future generations of women and people from underrepresented groups in higher education.

“Many organisations profess to be committed to these values.

“But, we’ve genuinely put action ahead of the talk and been willing to do the hard work to make a difference.”

SAGE CEO Dr Janin Bredehoeft was excited about the value of the University of Newcastle’s work to the wider community.

“Achieving five Cygnet awards is a huge milestone for the UoN in its equity, diversity and inclusion journey,” she said.

“It represents an important step towards the next level of SAGE accreditation, and growing maturity in building a thriving, equitable workplace.

“The university has approached this challenge with absolutely unbridled enthusiasm.

“By supporting carers on staff, and improving fairness in workload allocations, they added to their already excellent work and earned two more awards.

“My huge congratulations to the team for its deep commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion.”

The UoN was recognised for initiatives to:

Career development support for women across the Institution and assessed the impact of leadership, mentoring, and support programs on the progression and retention of women and other underrepresented groups

The impact of strategies including targeted female and targeted Indigenous recruitment and high-school outreach programs to improve the pipeline of female and under-represented students and staff in engineering, science and the environment fields

Indigenous Cultural Capability training aimed at increasing cultural safety and belonging and helping non-Indigenous staff and student move from being culturally aware to culturally responsive

Support for carers, including embedding entitlements into the EBA, policy changes and capital expenditure

Ensure the fair, equitable and transparent allocation of work

Pro Vice-Chancellor Academic Excellence and Program Lead Professor Jennifer Milam said she was pleased that SAGE had endorsed the progress the university had made.

“The impact of creating targeted strategies to reduce gender and intersectional barriers, to improve female and Indigenous participation, to support carers and to create clear plans for the career progression of underrepresented groups is highly-important,” she stated.

“The latest recognition also reflects the UoN has a sector-leading Enterprise Agreement that supports our staff – and ultimately that leads to better results for our students.

“Our work doesn’t stop here.

‘We’ll continue to plan and find ways to lower and eventually eliminate barriers that prevent participation for all staff and students.”

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