Athena SWAN

Curtin is committed to the Athena SWAN Charter

Dr Laura Machuca Suarez - Research Fellow, WA School of Mines, Faculty of Science & Engineering
Dr Laura Machuca Suarez - Research Fellow, WA School of Mines, Faculty of Science & Engineering

The Athena SWAN Charter was established by the Equality Challenge Unit in the United Kingdom in 2005, with a mission to encourage, recognise and advance the participation of women involved in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM) in higher education and research. It built on work undertaken earlier in the UK under the ‘Athena Project’ and the Scientific Women’s Academic Network (SWAN).

The Australian Academy of Science and Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering joined forces in 2015 to bring the Athena SWAN Charter and associated accreditation program to Australia under the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) initiative. Curtin joined the inaugural SAGE pilot of the Australian Athena SWAN accreditation program and received the Athena SWAN Bronze Institution accreditation award at a ceremony at Parliament House in Canberra on Wednesday 5 December 2018.

Learn more about the Athena SWAN Charter

Improving the gender diversity of academic staff and students in STEMM is a priority to ensure Australia is competitive with countries which have a greater focus on this area.

Curtin’s participation in the Australian Athena SWAN program and commitment to the Athena SWAN Charter demonstrates our willingness to work towards the achievement of the Charter’s aims:

  • advancing gender equity in academia and leadership
  • addressing unequal gender representation across disciplines
  • removing the obstacles faced by female academics in particular, at major points of career development and progression.

Why Curtin is committed to Athena SWAN

Curtin University is committed to maximising the potential of all of its staff, regardless of gender, and recognises the importance and value of having a diverse academic workforce in all discipline areas.

There is a well-documented lack of gender equity in academia across many STEMM disciplines. In addition, women are under-represented at senior and leadership levels across all discipline areas. This is an Australia-wide issue, which also exists at Curtin.

Female researchers are often squeezed out of STEMM careers by structural barriers. The loss of their expertise is a significant waste of knowledge, talent and investment. Gender equity and gender diversity positively impact Australia’s scientific performance and productivity. It is also recognised that there is a need to increase the number of men in other areas of STEMM (i.e. such as some health professions).

Achieving increased gender equity in STEMM is of national and international importance.

What Athena SWAN means to Curtin

Widespread consultation occurred during the development of Curtin’s Athena SWAN Bronze Institution Award application and Action Plan. This identified the importance of influencing recruitment retention, career development, flexibility in the work environment, leadership and cultural change.

Curtin’s Athena SWAN Action Plan is part of our ongoing commitment to eliminating gender bias and further developing an inclusive culture that values all staff.

This commitment is consistent with our values and is reflected in our Strategic Plan 2017-2020.

Implementing the change at Curtin

As a Bronze accredited institution, Curtin has developed the 2018-2021 Curtin Athena SWAN Action Plan. Curtin’s Athena SWAN Action Plan aims to retain and support excellent female academics in the STEMM disciplines at Curtin, increase the diversity of the University’s academic workforce, advance the careers of female academics in the STEMM disciplines, and to increase the number of female academics in leadership positions.

To see a copy of Curtin’s Athena SWAN Action Plan 2018-2021 please visit the Other Plans section of the Office of Strategy and Planning website.

All areas of the University will be involved in implementing the Athena SWAN Action Plan and ensuring the milestones and targets are achieved. The plan includes accountabilities for all levels of management across the University.

An Athena SWAN Steering Group, chaired by the Associate Provost Professor Julianne Reid, has been established to monitor and provide advice on the implementation of our Athena SWAN Action Plan. Professor Jo Ward is Athena SWAN Academic Lead and Ms Sue Rauh, Project Officer for the Athena SWAN project. These key contacts will facilitate the implementation of the Athena SWAN Action Plan, lead some of its initiatives, and act as a resource to support Schools, Faculties and other areas that are developing and implementing actions that relate to the Athena SWAN Action Plan.

Athena SWAN resources

Curtin Athena SWAN Key Contacts

Professor Julianne Reid, Associate Provost, Steering Group Chair
+61 8 9266 5659 or

Professor Jo Ward, Athena SWAN Academic Lead
+61 8 9266 7510 or

Sue Rauh, Athena SWAN Project Officer
+61 8 9266 4235 or

Please see Curtin Athena SWAN Steering Group below for the Steering Group membership.

Athena SWAN email address:

Curtin Athena SWAN Steering Group

Associate Provost (Chair) ex officioProfessor Julianne Reid
Athena SWAN Academic Lead (Deputy Chair) ex officioProfessor Jo Ward
Pro Vice-Chancellor (HS) ex officioProfessor Archie Clements
Pro Vice-Chancellor (SAE) ex officioProfessor Jeremy Kilburn
Director, People and Culture ex officioMr Ian Jackson
Faculty Gender and Diversity Working Group ex officioProfessor Kate Trinajstic (SAE)
Professor Helen McCutcheon (HS)
Associate Professor Francesco Mancini (HUM)
Professor Vanessa Chang (FBL)
Associate Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research Excellence ex officioProfessor Garry Allison
STEMM Academic Representatives (4, including one Early Career Academic)Professor Suzanne Robinson (HS, HS GEWG - named ASHS)
Professor Natalie Gasson (HS, ASHS)
Professor Mark Gibberd (SAE)
TBA (SAE, Early Career Academic)
Project OfficerMs Sue Rauh