What is the purpose of the UAEW 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.   

We invite women and men at all stages in their careers to join our membership.

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.

Click here for the UAEW Terms of Reference (PDF 218KB)


Members and Membership

There are two tiers of membership. 

1.Senior Membership

2.Membership

Senior Membership 

  • For academic or professional women and men at or above the level of executive dean, associate dean, head of school, director, or their equivalent who have a shared commitment to enhancing the representation of women at the most senior levels of university leadership. You will receive invitations and updates on UAEW resources, along with opportunities to play a leadership role in helping the university sector to achieve our goal of gender parity in executive roles.

Membership

  • for women and men employed in universities below the level of Head of School/Director or equivalent, with an interest in opportunities for women in leadership and a commitment to developing and supporting women in university leadership; and
  • individuals and organisations outside the Australian university sector who are committed to the advancement of women to executive levels and who wish to support and follow the group, receive regular email updates and attend relevant events.

To sign up for any of the above memberships, please provide responses to the below questions and email to: uaew@universitiesaustralia.edu.au.

  1. Title/honorific
  2. Full name
  3. Position title
  4. Institution
  5. Work Type (Academic and Professional)
  6. Membership type (senior membership or membership)
  7. Email
  8. How did you hear about us?
  9. Are there any specific areas you would like to see the UAEW group focus on?

LinkedIn group

The UAEW LinkedIn group is used to promote UAEW resources, interesting articles and research around gender parity and the representation of women. We invite any women and men at any stage of their career who are interested in the UAEW mission to join our UAEW LinkedIn group here.


UAEW Team 

Co-Chair 2019/20: Professor Caroline Finch, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Edith Cowan University
Co-Chair 2019/20: Professor Eileen Baldry, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, UNSW Sydney.
Co-Chair 2017/18: Professor Kerri-Lee Krause, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), La Trobe University
Co-Chair 2017/18: Professor Marcia Devlin, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Senior Vice-President, Victoria University

Universities Australia Overseer: Anne-Marie Lansdown

Project Officer: Lily Halliday

Advisory Group: 
Professor Sharon Bell, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Strategy and Planning), Western Sydney University
Professor Deborah Hodgson, Pro Vice-Chancellor Research & Innovation, University of Newcastle
Professor Helen Huntly, Provost, Tertiary Education Division, Central Queensland University 
Ms Natalie MacDonald,Vice-President (Administration),La Trobe University

Contact us

E: uaew@universitiesaustralia.edu.au
Thursday and Friday (Lily Halliday – Project Officer for UAEW)


Latest News

International Women's Day

Dear Colleagues,

Friday 8 of March is International Women’s Day (IWD), a day to celebrate the social, economic and political achievements of women through history around the world. This year’s theme #balanceforbetter asks us how can we make a more gender-balanced world.


This question is pertinent to us as the Universities Australia Executive Women (UAEW) group continues to provide strategic advice and high-level guidance to Australian universities and their governing bodies, as well as a range of other organisations committed to improving the representation of women.

IWD has its origins in a National Women’s March in New York in 1909 By 1911, IWD was marked by marches in Europe supported by over one million people. IWD belongs to everyone now and is not specific to one group only. Everyone is responsible for creating a more gender-balanced world. It is our shared responsibility and relies on our collective actions. Future generations will reap the benefits of the enriched and diverse perspectives emerging from gender-balanced board rooms, gender balance in all the academic disciplines and professions, resulting in a fairer and just world for everyone.

The UAEW had an inspiring lunch time meeting at the recent Universities Australia Conference in Canberra. We heard from Jen de Vries re-launching the UAEW Sponsorship Guide and from Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith, Australia's first Women in STEM Ambassador. We encourage you to invite other women, men and organisations who have a shared commitment to developing and supporting women in university leadership through UAEW membership.

Warm regards,
Professor Caroline Finch, UAEW Co-Chair, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Edith Cowan University
Professor Eileen Baldry, UAEW Co-Chair, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, UNSW Sydney


Universities Australia Executive Women Conference Address

Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith - Australian Government Women in STEM Ambassador & Professor, UNSW Sydney

Image - Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith 6 March 2019.jpg

On the 1st of December, I was appointed by the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science as the Australian Government’s Women in STEM Ambassador. My background is astrophysics - I’ve spent the past 15 years carrying out fundamental research at some of the world’s great astronomical observatories.

But now, for the next two years – my role is to focus on Australia’s STEM stars of the future. To advocate for gender equity in STEM, build the visibility of women working in STEM and to drive cultural and social change.

The government created the Women in STEM Ambassador portfolio because the economic imperative for greater female participation is overwhelming. According to the Office of the Chief Scientist, advanced physical and mathematical sciences make a direct contribution to the Australian economy of around $145 billion a year, about 11% of GDP. According to PwC, upskilling just 1% of the Australian workforce into STEM roles would add $57 billion to our GDP. Since only 16% of STEM roles are currently filled by women, imagine the change gender equity could make.

But it’s not just an economic imperative. As a society we have a duty to make sure that women can equally participate in the high-growth are of technologically-skilled jobs. We simply can’t have a situation where half the population is ill-equipped to take part in vast areas of employment as technology evolves.

So where can universities drive the greatest change? My first honorable mention would go to the SAGE initiative - Science in Australia Gender Equity – the use of evidence-based approaches to form and track targets towards workplace equity. I know that many of you are actively engaged with this excellent program, and it’s really about getting leaders to ask the important questions: ‘for what will I hold myself accountable?’. And I ask you that question today – for what, in 2019, will you hold yourself accountable?

Might your target be to evaluate your university’s schools’ engagement programs with a gender lens? University engagement with schools can make a really positive difference to students. In particular, strongly evidence-based programs can enable young people to see clear pathways to higher education and employment in STEM. By evaluating programs rigorously, including through a gender lens, Universities can ensure that engagement programs match their aspiration for inclusion in the STEM subjects. A common pitfall is that it’s far easier to target the low hanging fruit – the local private boys’ or girls’ schools for example. Some universities fall into the trap of targeting particular schools for particular subjects, because that is where previous intakes have come from. But by doing so we miss the point. There is great STEM talent in girl’s schools and in public schools, including those in regional and remote areas. And we should be encouraging and servicing all our talent.

Could your target be to evaluate the learning environment itself? If a female Physics or Engineering student in your university is already contending with a predominantly male environment, it is enormously important to provide a suitable learning space that doesn’t further alienate. This seems obvious, but I can’t tell you how many Physics departments I’ve been to that are decorated with ancient pictures celebrating the achievements of old, dead, white men harking from an era when women were either directly or indirectly excluded from scientific careers. Nothing says ‘you don’t belong’ more than poorly- designed learning spaces.

Removing these cues to young women that they don’t belong in STEM is vital. Research shows that a lack of visible female role models is a consistent factor that discourages girls from pursuing STEM careers. Rip out the old and create environments that acknowledge and celebrate the contemporary STEM workforce. Changes like this are inexpensive and frighteningly simple.

And finally, can you hold yourself accountable for structural change that could have a positive knock-on effect on girls’ high-school STEM education?

A question that has been raised time and time again in my consultations with people working on the front-line of STEM education in this country is whether the ATAR, combined with a lack of pre-requisite subjects for many STEM degrees, is worsening the gender gap in STEM.

The emphasis placed by schools, parents and students on maximizing their ATAR can be enormous, and this can amplify the differences in self-efficacy experienced by young men and young women in mathematics and physical sciences. As girls observe a lack of role models, they increasingly come to the position that STEM is not for them, with studies showing that significant differences emerge as early as age 6.

This, combined with a pressure to maximise their ATAR by avoiding the subjects deemed ‘too challenging’ by many parents and teachers, is it any wonder that so many girls are shunning STEM subjects in their final years of schooling?

Universities could play an important role in changing the status quo. Whether this is by requiring appropriate pre-requisite subjects for STEM-related degrees, or, by engaging girls in high schools with pathways into fulfilling lifelong STEM careers, we need to act.

As the Australian Government’s Women in STEM Ambassador, I look forward to listening to your experiences and ideas on these issues, hearing how you are holding yourself and your leadership teams accountable for positive change, and of course, to working with you towards a better, more equitable future

 

Sponsorship Guide

UAEW, in partnership with Dr Jen de Vries and Dr Jennifer Binns, have developed Sponsorship: Creating Career Opportunities for Women in Higher Education Guidelines . The guide is an educative tool with practical guides to support Australian universities in enhancing their sponsorship practice. The guide provides insights into the benefits and challenges of sponsorship so that individuals and organisations can decide whether and how sponsorship might meet their needs and which tools they would like to implement.
We recommend that the sponsorship guide is not read in isolation, and that you are mindful of, and refer to the unconscious bias (PDF 459.1KB) resource when implementing any sponsorship practice.
At the launch, Dr de Vries referred to these sponsorship guide powerpoint slides (PDF 615.1KB) , which she has kindly made available.

Newsletter #6 - December 2018

Read about UAEW's latest activities here (PDF 495KB).


Resources

Sponsorship guide

UAEW, in partnership with Dr Jen de Vries and Dr Jennifer Binns, have developed Sponsorship: Creating Career Opportunities for Women in Higher Education Guidelines . The guide is an educative tool with practical guides to support Australian universities in enhancing their sponsorship practice. The guide provides insights into the benefits and challenges of sponsorship so that individuals and organisations can decide whether and how sponsorship might meet their needs and which tools they would like to implement. 
We recommend that the sponsorship guide is not read in isolation, and that you are mindful of, and refer to the unconscious bias (PDF 459.1KB) resource when implementing any sponsorship practice. 

Best Practice Recruitment Guidelines

The Best Practice Recruitment Guidelines (PDF 853.5KB) have been developed by UAEW, in partnership with Fisher Leadership, to fast forward the advancement of women in Australian university executive appointments. The guidelines were launched on 1 March 2018 at the Universities Australia Higher Education Conference.


Best Practice Recruitment Guidelines - case studies

Where possible, the case studies (DOCX 190.8KB) represented in the best practice recruitment guidelines are extended and supplementary information provided.

Mentors to Many video vignettes

The video vignettes involve interviews with senior university executives, who address a series of questions that a mentee or aspiring leader might typically ask a mentor or sponsor (listed in alphabetical order).

Professor Attila Brungs, Vice-Chancellor and President, University of Technology Sydney, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_aTus1JHtc, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cG2keq1HNk&t=6s and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4agTYI0TjSA

Professor Brenda Cherednickenko, Executive Dean Arts and Education, Deakin University, https://youtu.be/yL2hJUi3r2w

Professor Jane den Hollander, Vice-Chancellor, Deakin University, https://youtu.be/MOTeCJJzkpM

Professor John Dewar, Vice-Chancellor, La Trobe University, https://youtu.be/6hoXA21DPkw, https://youtu.be/YcegUIesFVY, and https://youtu.be/AtCbxBxp7pU.

Professor Lorraine Ling, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Associate), Towards Success, Victoria University, https://youtu.be/mo98uBbWLKI

Associate Professor Linley Lord of the Maureen Bickley Centre for Women in Leadership, Curtin Graduate School of Business, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sXg8tUvKjY&t=16s

Professor Jill Milroy, Dean of the School of Indigenous Studies, University of Western Australia, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pt5aniEJCQ0&t=104s

Professor Beverley Oliver, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education), Deakin University, https://youtu.be/92j8sJ7l1dM

Kerrie Parker, Chief Financial Officer, Deakin University, https://youtu.be/c20tx6F0o30

Mentoring and Sponsorship Video

Mentoring and Sponsorship, Dr Jennifer de Vries (www.jendevries.com), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s624S7BgggQ

Unconscious Bias Guidelines

UAEW has produced guidelines for Councils and universities to consider when designing programs or initiatives to tackle unconscious bias. These can be found here (PDF 458.6KB).

WomenCount: Australian Universities 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.



Interviews

HIGHER ED.ITION Q&A

On 30 October 2017, in the newsletter of Universities Australia, a Q&A interview on UAEW with Professor Marcia Devlin was published.

Articles

Chlopicki, K. (2018, March 6). Guide helps advance women in leadership. Campus Review. Retrieved from https://www.campusreview.com.au/2018/03/women-in-leadership/

Dodd, T. (2018, March 7). Gender mix tips to women in research. The Australian, p. 31

Matchett, S. (2018, November 21). Sponsoring spirals of success. Campus Morning Mail. Retrieved from https://campusmorningmail.com.au/news/sponsoring-spirals-of-success/

Myton, D. (2018, March 21). Fast-forward to gender equity
New best practice recruitment guidelines for Australian universities.
Campus Morning Mail. Retrieved from http://campusmorningmail.com.au/news/fast-forward-to-gender-equity/


Rolling Action plan

UAEW has a rolling two-year Action Plan (PDF 890.6KB)


Contact Us 

E: uaew@universitiesaustralia.edu.au

Thursday and Friday (Kim Findlay – Project Officer for UAEW)


History 

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. The group has had several evolutions over the years and now operates to an articulated term of reference/objectives as outlined above.