University recognised for gender equality

University recognised for gender equality

In 2019, a number of universities made waves in promoting gender equity and inclusivity within their ranks – especially when it comes to women in the STEM field.

Universities were also recognised for implementing programs or systems to achieve gender equality in their workplace.

Among these universities is the University of Wollongong (UOW), which has once again received citation from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) as one of the leading organisations that champion gender equality among its staff.

The University has now held the Employer of Choice for Gender Equality (EOCGE) citation for 11 years while its subsidiary group, UOW Global Enterprises (UOWGE), made it in the 2019-20 EOCGE list for the sixth time.

Professor Paul Wellings, UOW vice-chancellor, said receiving the citation shows the university is “headed in the right direction” as it continues to aim for a more gender-diverse organisation.

UOW is among the pioneer institutions to receive the Athena SWAN Bronze Institution award from the Science in Australia Gender Equity initiative. Last year, UOW also received bronze recognition from AWEI inclusion awards as one of the most inclusive employers for LGBTQIA staff.

UOWGE Group CEO Marisa Mastroianni for her part said that having a more diverse pool of employees helps drive innovation and better decisions, enhancing the competency of the organisation’s operations.

UOWGE, which handles the University’s Dubai operations, currently employs over 1,600 staff members.

Rigorous requirements

This year saw fewer organisations that made it to the EOCGE list – from 141 in the previous year to 119 – after the WGEA employed stricter guidelines for its review. The number of education and training organisations also dropped from 17 to 13.

WGEA director Libby Lyons said that they focused more on an organisation’s accountability, evidence, internal reporting processes and outcomes in their criteria.  However, organisations which made it to the 2019-20 list can now hold their citation two years.

Common practices employed by leading organisations in gender equality in the workplace include the adoption of flexible workflows, programs to support women’s mobility to higher positions, and ongoing monitoring and correction of gender-based pay gaps. 

WGEA was formed to help organisations achieve gender equality in their workplace and comply with the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012, which replaced the Equality opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act 1999.

WGEA’s EOCGE citation also replaced the Women in the Workplace Agency’s Employer of Choice for Women citation.

Other universities which made it to the EOCGE citation list also rolled out their own program to support women in the workplace beyond the STEM field.

The University of Technology Sydney, which now holds the citation for 19 years, has its Women@UTS network aside from running the Athena SWAN and Research Equity Initiative. Last year, the University also pledged to close its gender pay gap.

Victoria University, which held the EOCGE citation for two years now, launched its first Female Quotient Lounge to advance women’s careers in business in January.

While the Queensland University of Technology did not make it into the 2019-20 citation list, the University said it will prioritise the promotion of gender equity in its new five-year strategic plan.