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Curtin University
Ethics Equity and Social Justice
Athena Swan project: addressing gender equity at Curtin

At Curtin, we’re committed to supporting and advancing gender equity to improve the promotion and retention of women and gender minorities.

Curtin is a member of the inaugural Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) pilot of the Athena SWAN accreditation program. This is a national pilot that recognises best practices in recruiting, retaining and promoting women’s careers in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM).

Gender equity at Curtin

Curtin has a strong background in supporting gender equity. This has been recognised externally through Curtin’s citation as an Employer of Choice for Gender by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency.

As part of our continued commitment to gender equity Curtin recognises that there is more to be achieved as women are often disproportionately under-represented, particularly in STEMM.

Through our engagement in the SAGE pilot Curtin aims to provide a solid foundation for promoting gender equity and an inclusive environment.

As the sponsor of the SAGE pilot Vice-Chancellor, Professor Deborah Terry wishes to adopt the program and extend it to include all Faculties at Curtin as there will be benefits across all areas. The project will be led by Professor Jo Ward (Dean of Science) and will assist Curtin to achieve an Athena Swan Bronze Institutional Award.

The Athena SWAN SAGE pilot

In September 2015, the Australian Academy of Science (AAS) and the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) launched the SAGE pilot of the Athena SWAN accreditation program, which has been adopted and adapted from the United Kingdom.

The SAGE pilot involves 32 selected participants, consisting of Australian Universities, medical research institutes and publicly-funded research agencies. It is designed to assist participants prepare a successful application for an Athena Swan Bronze Institutional Award over a two-year period. The award recognises SAGE workshop at Curtin (L-R) Professor Jo Ward, Curtin University; James Lush, Equality Challenge Unit, UK Athena SWAN Advisor; Dr Zuleyka Zevallos, Project Manager, Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE); pictured at a SAGE workshop in February 2016. that institutions have achieved a solid foundation for eliminating gender bias and have developed an inclusive culture that values all staff. To demonstrate this, institutions are required to collect, analyse and present longitudinal data on gender policies and practices, as well as identify gaps and opportunities for improvement.

Participation in SAGE will provide an opportunity for Curtin, via Faculty Self-Assessment Teams, to identify barriers for women in our workplace and identify solutions to achieve a change in culture that will result in improved gender equity.

To guide the two-year process, the Gender Equity Working Group has been established and comprises male and female champions of gender change.

Regional Network Meeting for members of WA region (L-R) Cobie Rudd (ECU), Deborah Strickland (Telethon Kids Institute), Christine Gunson (ECU), Melissa Larini (Telethon Kids Institute), Vicki Ward (Curtin), Fay Davidson (UWA), Teri Balser (Curtin), Mark Lund (ECU), Jo Ward (Curtin). Laptop: Carolyn Oldham. The first Regional Network Meeting for WA region, 30 March 2016.

Resources and articles

View resources and articles about gender equity in higher education.

Contact us

For more information, please contact the SAGE at Curtin team:

Professor Jo Ward, Project Lead on (08) 9266 7510 or


About Athena SWAN

The Athena SWAN charter was established by the Equality Challenge Unit in the United Kingdom, with a mission to encourage, recognise and advance the participation of women involved in STEMM in higher education and research. Athena SWAN grants bronze, silver and gold awards to organisations who demonstrate their commitment to the principles of the charter.
Learn more about Athena SWAN’s charter.

Athena SWAN logo

What is STEMM?

STEMM is Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine.

To ensure consistency of STEMM data as part of the national SAGE Athena Swan in Australia Project, and for the purpose of data collection and analysis for the Athena SWAN Institutional Bronze Award application, Curtin defines STEMM as:
STAFF: Academic Staff in all Schools in the Faculties of Science and Engineering and Health Sciences, and in the School of Design and the Built Environment, as well as Professional and General Staff who provide research, technical, and clinical support in these areas.
STUDENTS: Students categorised by Fields of Education within the Faculties of Science and Engineering and Health Sciences, and the School of Design and the Built Environment.

The period of coverage is three years: 2014, 2015 and 2016.