University commits to gender equity during COVID-19

Gender equity
The University has affirmed its commitment to gender equity.

The University of Melbourne has affirmed its commitment to gender equity by endorsing the Australian Higher Education Joint Sector Position Statement on ‘Preserving Gender Equity as a Higher Education Priority During and After COVID-19’.

The University joins a number of other Australian universities and sector partners in signing the position statement, which outlines five actions to mitigate the potential negative impact of COVID-19 upon gender equality in higher education.

This includes actively seeking equal representation of women in the COVID-19 response planning and decision-making, formally monitoring and reporting on gender equity impacts of COVID-19 related decision making, continuing participation in the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) Athena SWAN initiative, maintaining gender equity and diversity programs and Key Performance Indicators, and preserving the gender equity process by maintaining women’s representation in the workforce.

University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Duncan Maskell said the COVID-19 pandemic has posed numerous challenges to the university sector.

“We have all seen the extraordinary impact of COVID-19 on the sector, from the way we operate as an institution to research and the workforce and the way we have had to quickly respond to provide support for our students and staff,” Professor Maskell said.

“But what we will not let happen is for women to be disproportionally affected by this pandemic. We are absolutely committed to our work on diversity and inclusion to ensure we remain strong on gender equity. This includes further funding for the Athena SWAN Women in STEMM initiative, among other important work. Signing this Joint Sector Position Statement is another step in our unwavering commitment to gender equity.”

University of Melbourne Chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Steering Committee Professor Julie Willis said diversity and inclusion is a high priority at the University.

“We are absolutely focused on the commitments outlined in the Joint Sector Position Statement, and are mindful of our own specific challenges and organisational context as we implement the University’s Advancing Melbourne strategy for the next decade. The University continues to work assiduously to maintain and improve gender equity and other aspects of diversity in our staff and student cohorts.”