SAGE CEO Dr Janin Bredehoeft said, “the evidence from RMIT shows that we can increase diversity in STEMM by taking a systemic change approach to recruitment. It’s a timely reminder, in light of the Government’s upcoming Diversity in STEM review.”
“SAGE awards encourage organisations to evaluate and showcase their gender equity and diversity outcomes, which in turn helps others invest in actions that work. I’m very pleased to present RMIT with their first Cygnet Award – congratulations to the team on their phenomenal work.”
To increase gender diversity the RMIT Athena SWAN team, in collaboration with leaders and experts across the University, have implemented a range of initiatives.
Special Measures recruitment, where women/gender-diverse only recruitment rounds were held for certain positions. This increased the proportion of applications from women across STEMM by 9 per cent over the intervention period from 2018 to 2021, with STEM College’s School of Engineering and the School of Health and Biomedical Sciences reporting the greatest increase of 11 per cent.
RMIT also introduced Achievement Relative to Opportunity (ARtO) in academic recruitment, a move towards a positive acknowledgement of what a person can or has achieved given the opportunities available to them. Essentially, a more calibrated assessment of their performance.
Over 2 pilot fellowship rounds, more than 60 per cent of candidates utilised ARtO in the recruitment process and more than 50 per cent of these candidates were successful in securing roles.
In 2020, RMIT was also:
the first Australian employer to be explicitly inclusive of trans- and gender-diverse through Special Measures recruitment; and
the first university to be accredited by the Australian Network on Disability (AND) as a Disability Confident Recruiter.
About the award
The Cygnet Award follows the Athena SWAN Bronze Accreditation awarded to RMIT in February 2020. While the Athena SWAN Bronze Award is given to institutions for establishing a solid foundation to drive transformational change, Cygnet Awards recognise the progress and impact in addressing a specific barrier to gender equity, diversity and inclusion.
In the SAGE accreditation pathway, Cygnet Awards are the primary mechanism for institutions to report on the actions they have implemented and the outcomes, impact, and learnings as a result of those actions.
Cygnet Award applications are structured like case studies on actions to address a specific issue, for example inequitable leave policies or career development opportunities.
Read RMIT’s application for the Cygnet Award on the SAGE website.
Story by Nick Adams