The Universities Australia Executive Women group (UAEW) was established in 1994 (formally Australian Colloquium for Senior Women Executives in Higher Education). UAEW conducts gender equality research, provides insights to the issues/challenges facing executive women, hosts workshop/s each year for executive women and creates opportunities for networking.

UAEW timeline (PDF 151.5KB).

What is the purpose of the group?

UAEW is a national group, sponsored by Universities Australia, that provides strategic advice and high-level guidance to Australian Universities and their governing bodies, relevant associated organisations and state/territory-based networks committed to improving the representation of women, both academic and professional, at executive levels of university leadership and governance.   

The Universities Australia Executive Women Group has the following objectives:

  1. Provide strategic advice and recommendations to Universities Australia on sector-wide approaches to enhance the representation of women in executive leadership roles in Australian universities, including strategies for empowering future women in leadership. 
  2. Collect, collate and share information and good practice relevant to universities and their governing bodies, associated organisations and state/territory-based networks to improve the representation of women at executive levels of university leadership. Good practice advice might include, for example, practical toolkits, guidelines and the like.
  3. Sponsor/commission targeted investigations around strategies to address systemic barriers to women’s advancement to executive level in the Australian university sector to develop practical resources for dissemination and use.
  4. Actively promote and support university-led initiatives to enhance the representation of women in executive leadership roles across the Australian higher education sector. 
  5. Provide evidence-based briefings to relevant high-level groups such as the Chancellors, Vice-Chancellors, Deputy Vice-Chancellors and other senior university stakeholders with responsibility for enhancing the representation of women in executive leadership roles in the sector.
  6. On request, provide advice and guidance to universities and their governing bodies, associated organisations and state/territory-based networks on initiatives they have planned or are implementing to assist the development of female staff.

UAEW Terms of Reference (PDF 218KB)

Members and Membership 

Co-Chair: Professor Kerri-Lee Krause, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost, Victoria University

Co-Chair: Professor Marcia Devlin, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Learning and Quality), Federation University

Universities Australia Overseer: Catriona Jackson

There are three tiers of membership. 

  1. Supporter/Follower Membership
  2. Full Membership

Supporter/Follower Membership

Men and women in universities who are not working at the levels outlined above and individuals and organisations outside universities committed to the advancement of women to executive level are welcome to support/follow the group, receive regular email updates and attend events that are open to them.

Full Membership 


Full membership is open to academic or professional women and men at the level of executive dean, associate dean, head of school, director, or their equivalent, and above who have a shared commitment to enhancing the representation of women at the most senior levels of university leadership.

To sign up for any of the above memberships, please complete the membership form (DOCX 25.4KB) and email to: uaew@universitiesaustralia.edu.au.

Mentors to Many

This year we will launch the Universities Australia Executive Women (UAEW) group Mentors to Many program. 

The program involves filming interviews with a number of senior university executives, who will answer a series of questions that a mentee or aspiring leader might typically ask a mentor or sponsor. Videos of these interviews will then be available publicly through this website. 

Stay tuned for further information!

WomenCount: Australian Universtities 2016 

WomenCount: Australian Universities 2016 reports on the participation of women in the most senior leadership roles in Universities Australia’s members in a snapshot taken in September 2016. The roles considered in the report include Chancellors, Deputy Chancellors, university councils, Chairs of key governing body committees, Vice-Chancellors and their executive teams, Chairs of academic boards and heads of faculties.

The report, sponsored by Perrett Laver and launched by Universities Australia at the March 2017 Higher Education Conference, shows that universities, individually and collectively, are taking action to increase women’s leadership in senior roles. There is progress to celebrate in some areas but work is continuing across a number of priorities.

Click here  (PDF 1.1MB) for the full report.

Contact Us 

E: uaew@universitiesaustralia.edu.au

T: +61 3 9214 4902 – Monday to Thursday (Alison Jackson – Project Officer for UAEW)

T: +61 3 9919 5916 – Friday (Alison Jackson – Project Officer for UAEW)

UAEW Related outputs


Strachan, G., Peetz, D., Whitehouse, G., Bailey, J., Broadbent, K., May, R., Troup, C. & Nesic, M. (2016). Women, careers and universities: Where to from here? Centre for Work, Orginisation and Wellbeing, Griffith University, Brisbane.

Strachan, G., Troup, C., Peetz, D., Whitehouse, G., Broadbent, K., & Bailey, J. (2012). Work and careers in Australian universities: Report on employee survey. Centre for Work, Organisation and Wellbeing, Griffith University.

Devries, J. (2011). Mentoring for change. Melbourne: Universities Australia Executive Women (UAEW) and LH Martin Institute.

Diezmann, C. and Grieshaber, S. (2009) “Understanding the Achievements and Aspirations of New Women Professors”: A Report to Universities Australia, Centre for Learning Innovation, Faculty of Education, QUT.

Dever, M. (2008) “Gender Differences in Early Post-PhD Employment in Australian Universities: The Influence of the PhD Experience on Women’s Careers”, Report Prepared for Universities Australia, The Social Research Centre, University of Queensland.

Journal Articles

Strachan, G., Bailey, J., Wallace, M., & Troup, C. (2013). Gender equity in professional and general staff in Australian universities: the contemporary picture. Labour & Industry: a journal of the social and economic relations of work, 23(3), 215-230.

Broadbent, K., Troup, C., & Strachan, G. (2013). Research staff in Australian universities: Is there a career path? Labour and Industry, 23(3): 276-295.

Farrelly, B. &Whitehouse, G. (2013). Equality enabling parental leave: Prevalence and distribution in Australian universities. Labour and Industry, 23(2), 245-257. 

May, R., Peetz, D. & Strachan, G. (2013). The casual academic workforce and labour market segmentation in Australia. Labour and Industry, 23(3): 258-275. 

May, R., Strachan, G. & Peetz, D. (2013). Workforce development and renewal in Australian universities and the management of casual academic staff. Journal of University Teaching and Learning Practice, 10(3): 1-26.  

Bell, S. (2007). Action plans for university executive women. Frontline, 15, 17.

Conference Papers 

Peetz, D., Strachan, G., & Troup, C. (2014). Discipline, Change and Gender in the Academic Workforce. Paper presented to the 28th Association of Industrial Relations Academics of Australia and New Zealand (AIRAANZ) conference, Melbourne, February.

Whitehouse, G. & Nesic, M. (2014). Gender and career progression in academia: assessing equity and diversity policy directions in Australian universities. Paper presented to the Australian Political Studies Association Annual Conference, 28 Sept – 1 Oct, University of Sydney.

Diezmann, C., & Grieshaber, S. (2010). Gender equity in the professoriate: A cohort study of new women professors in Australia. Research and development in higher education: Reshaping higher education, 33, 223-234.

Diezmann, C., & Grieshaber, S. (2010). The Australian story: catalysts and inhibitors in the achievement of new women professors. In Howard, Sarah (Ed.) AARE 2010 Conference Proceedings, AARE Inc, Melbourne, Australia, pp. 1-17.

Winchester, H., Chesterman, C., Lorenzo, S., & Browning, L. (2005). The Great Barrier myth: an investigation of promotions policy and practice in Australian universities. Paper presented at the National Colloquium of Senior Women Executives in Higher Education, Canberra, Australian Vice-Chancellors' Committee (AVCC).

PhD Theses

Farrelly, B. (2014). Negotiating career progression and parenthood: family-adaptiveness in an Australian university, PhD thesis, The University of Queensland.

May, R. (2014). An Investigation of the Casualisation of Academic Work in Australia, PhD thesis, Griffith University.