Athena SWAN at RMIT

RMIT proudly holds an Athena SWAN Bronze Award for our commitment to improve gender equity and diversity in the science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM) disciplines.

What is SAGE Athena SWAN?

The Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) is a system of accreditation based on the UK’s highly successful Athena SWAN Charter, which has been in operation since 2005.

Guided by 10 key principles, the Charter aims to remove structural barriers to gender equity and diversity in higher education and research institutions. 

RMIT University is one of more than 40 Australian institutions taking part in SAGE Athena SWAN, which commenced in September 2015.

For more information on SAGE Athena SWAN head to the SAGE website. 

The 2021 Annual Report provides an overview of RMIT's work under Athena SWAN

Highlights include:

  • +12% increase of women in senior leadership since 2015
  • 5 SAGE cygnet awards identified for RMIT’s pathway to silver accreditation 
  • 50% women in the STEM College Executive in 2021 increasing from 0% in 2020
  • Expansion of Special Measures in Recruitment to People with a Disability 
  • 9 women profiled in the Women in STEMM Gallery  
  • 4 weeks, partner leave doubled from 2 to 4 weeks   
  • Removal of the eligibility period to access primary parental leave 
  • 73% success rate for women in Academic Promotion  
  • 13 VE Women in STEM Ambassadors  
A person in a science lab

Previous reports

Athena SWAN Bronze Accreditation 

The Athena SWAN Bronze Accreditation awarded to RMIT in February 2020, gives the University a baseline from which to improve. 

RMIT’s Athena SWAN Bronze Action Plan identifies key improvement areas for gender equality and intersectionality in STEMM. It is a significant step and commitment to drive genuine change through rigorous data collection, analysis, practical steps, and non-negotiable time-frame. It keeps the University focussed and committed to drive a more inclusive and equitable workplace at RMIT. 

RMIT’s first Athena SWAN action plan will run from 2019-2025 and focuses on seven key pillars: 

  • Leading Local Action – leading transformation to support female careers in STEMM 
  • Building the Pipeline – inspiring and attracting future female talent 
  • Supporting fulfilling careers – nurturing female talent in STEMM 
  • Engaging moments of transition – in-time and flexible support mechanisms 
  • Transforming Culture – an inclusive, respectful and compassionate workplace 
  • Supporting and encouraging our intersectional communities 
  • Strengthening Foundations – future-proofing Athena SWAN through good governance 
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Bronze to Silver Accreditation

Science Australia in Gender Equality have designed a new pathway for Bronze accredited organisations to achieve a Silver accreditation. The pathway prompts institutions to continuously assess their readiness through completion of Progress and Impact reports, known as Cygnet Reports. These reports are based on key priority areas which are identified in our Bronze Application. 

The Athena SWAN team will be producing reports on these 5 areas up until 2025, along with our application for Silver Athena SWAN accreditation. These Cygnets will report on the progress of implementation of actions from the Athena SWAN Bronze Action Plan, and the impact, outcomes and reflection on learnings of our desired progress.  This will lead to further actions to achieve our goals and sustain our progress.  

10 key principles of the Athena SWAN Charter 

  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.
Member Role
Professor Alexs Subic
PVC Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine College
Project Sponsor and Chairperson 
Professor Kay Latham
Dean, STEM Diversity and Inclusion
Project Owner and Academic Executive representative
Ms Gaynor Witts
Chief People Officer, People
People representative
Mrs Michelle Dickinson
Senior HR Business Partner (STEM)
HR Business Partner representative
Ms Amy Love
Organisational Development Manager
Diversity & Inclusion representative
Professor Swee Mak
Deputy DVC, Research Capability
R&I Portfolio representative
Professor Ron Wakefield
Dean, School of Propert Construction & Project Management
DSC representative
Meg Mano Manohar
Student Advocate
Student representative
Professor Karin Verspoor
Dean, School of Computing Technologies
STEM Executive-Dean representative
Dr Angel Zhong
Deputy Dean, Research & Innovation
COB representative
Nicole Eaton
Director, Campus Planning & Services
Property & Procurement
Mish Eastman
Deputy Vice Chancellor VE & Vice President, College of VE
VE Representative
Lara Rafferty
Associate Director Equity & Inclusion
Students’ Group Representative 
Dist. Prof. Charlie Xue,
Associate DVC International, STEM College and Chair of Cultural Inclusion Working Party
Chair, Cultural Inclusion Working Party

Contact us 

To find out more or to get involved, contact Dr Maddy Yewers, Senior Project Coordinator maddy.yewers@rmit.edu.au

aboriginal flag
torres strait flag

Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.

aboriginal flag
torres strait flag

Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.