UniSA is deeply committed to developing a workforce that is diverse and in which talented people thrive. We continually seek ideas and learning from other creative organisations that we can build on to attract and develop highly motivated and creative people who together foster a culture of enterprise.

We've committed to improving the diversity of our people right across our University, encompassing all disciplines and teams. We've chosen to actively participate in the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) Pilot of Athena SWAN to create the momentum and drive the change. The pilot aims to apply the Athena SWAN Charter, a successful evaluation and accreditation framework from the United Kingdom, to promote gender equity and diversity in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM) in Australia.

Whilst SAGE has primarily focussed on the STEMM disciplines, at UniSA we are taking a whole of University approach, reflecting our enterprise mindset and our commitment to developing the diversity of all our people. 

UniSA was awarded Bronze Accreditation in September 2019.

This is a significant achievement for the University and an outward demonstration of our commitment to growing a diverse workforce and creating an environment in which talent thrives and difference is valued. It is also an important step toward achieving our E25 ambition of being a high performing, culturally enterprising organisation and attaining University wide Gold Accreditation.

Athena SWAN Charter

The Athena SWAN Charter is an accreditation program developed in the United Kingdom to address gender inequity within science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM).  It evolved in 1999 from the Athena Project, a small network of distinguished women in science who worked to advance the representation of women in STEMM, and who supported the Scientific Women’s Academy Network (SWAN) to create a charter to promote women into leadership roles within STEMM.

The Charter recognises excellence in policies and practices that support gender equity in STEMM through its tiered award model: Bronze, Silver and Gold.  Institutions join the Charter by agreeing to 10 Principles and endeavouring on a program of activities to analyse the organisation and design strategies for enhancing equity and diversity.

SAGE Athena SWAN Pilot

The Australian Academy of Science, in partnership with the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE), have established the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) initiative and are piloting the Athena SWAN Charter in Australia.

The pilot currently involves 40 institutions, who will apply for Athena SWAN Bronze awards in 2018 and 2019.

10 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.

Bronze Application Project Team

Project sponsors

Whilst SAGE has primarily focussed on the STEMM disciplines, at UniSA we are taking a whole of University approach, reflecting our enterprise mindset and our commitment to developing the diversity of all our people. 

As such, this project is co-sponsored by:

  • Professor Simon Beecham, Deputy Vice Chancellor: Research & Innovation
  • Jane Booth, Executive Director: People, Talent & Culture

Steering group

The SAGE Steering Group (SAGE SG) was the key decision making committee for UniSA's SAGE Athena SWAN Bronze Accreditation application.


  • Provides strategic direction to the SAT and Project Manager in the development of UniSA’s accreditation application.
  • Prioritises effort and direct the formulation of new initiatives to achieve gender parity in the academic and professional workforce across UniSA.
  • Engages SMG and Council to ensure support and commitment to the new initiatives recommended within the SAGE Action Plan.
  • Ensures effective communication and influence implementation of the action plan through championing and promotion across the University and our stakeholder communities.

Self-assessment team

The establishment of a “Self-Assessment Team” is a requirement of the SAGE Pilot.  It acts as a working group or steering committee responsible for:

  • Representing the diverse interests of individuals across the University engaged in STEMM
  • Leading the activities of the SAGE project
  • Undertaking data collection (both quantitative and qualitative), synthesis, analysis, interpretation and review in relation to equity within STEMM
  • Devising strategies to enhance equity in STEMM across the University and develop a detailed Action Plan for implementation
  • Overseeing the development, presentation, final application and award to Athena SWAN Charter Bronze accreditation
  • Ensuring effective communication and promotion of the project and its key initiatives


Contact Details

This project is managed within the Office of Strategic Programs.  Feel free to contact one of our team.

Caroline Batty: Senior Project Manager

Sarah Hart: Project Officer


List of Office of Strategic Programs Contacts