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Australian universities are strongly represented in the first group of research institutions recognised for making major strides on gender equality through a new national initiative.

Universities comprised 11 of the first 15 institutions to receive inaugural Athena SWAN Bronze awards through the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) program.

Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said the strong representation of higher education institutions was excellent.

"Australian universities have a genuine commitment to further advances on the road to gender equality – and that’s reflected in this strong showing in this first round of awards,” Ms Jackson said.

“Universities in our country are making big strides on gender equality through their own longstanding programs. Important initiatives like SAGE amplify that,” she said.

The SAGE program aims to improve gender equity in STEM fields through an accreditation and evaluation process in research organisations.

The Universities Australia Executive Women group has also contributed strongly to advancements on gender equality by producing a number of practical resources to advance gender equality in our sector.

This includes a recruitment guide to fast track the advancement of women into executive roles, ‘mentors to many’ videos, and a sponsorship guide on how leaders can foster the careers of their direct reports.

Ms Jackson said Australian universities would continue to build on their strong work to advance gender equality.

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