JCU seeks Sage Athena Swan accreditation

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Gender equity is an important issue for everyone, men and women, across all areas of the University.

In November 2015, James Cook University’s Vice Chancellors Advisory Committee resolved to seek admission to the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) pilot program of the Athena SWAN Charter in Australia.

The Athena SWAN Charter was established in the United Kingdom in 2005 and has shown positive results in advancing gender equity in the STEMM disciplines.

In her email to the University, Vice Chancellor Sandra Harding said gender equity is more than a parity issue.

“We must recognise the intrinsic value of diversity to innovation and intellectual life and its diminution if the cohort is dominated by one gender,” Professor Harding said in her message.

“As I am sure you are aware there is an increasing recognition across the higher education sector that women are under-represented in senior academic positions, with particular emphasis being placed on the number of females in leadership roles in STEMM disciplines,” she said.

While the focus of Athena SWAN is on  STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine), there is a push to extend this across all discipline areas at JCU.

Participating universities and institutions are required to collect, analyse and prepare data on current gender equity policies and practices, to identify weaknesses and gaps and to develop and implement an action plan to improve gender equity.

Division of Tropical Environments and Societies (DTES) Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Iain Gordon is leading the initiative at JCU.

JCU hopes to be accepted into the program and ultimately be in a position to apply for accreditation under the Athena SWAN Bronze Institutional Award in 2018.


Watch the personal accounts of some of JCU’s top women in STEMM.

These video projects were produced by students in Broadcast Journalism (JN2301) under the supervision of Dr Amy Forbes.


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Professor Helene Marsh

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AProf. Muriel Soden

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Dr Alexandra Trollope

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Dr Jodie Rummer

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 Professor Sarah Larkins




Interview with Professor Lin Schwarzkopf by jayden Woodbridge



Interview with  Haylee Letson by Caitlin Dobson



Interview with Dr Sara Brice by Nea O’Connor



Interview with AProfessor Ellen Ariel by Karlie Brady