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Gender Equality Strategy

Building on our status as an Employer of Choice

Inclusion - The University is committed to building a diverse community which reflects the diversity of the broader society in which we live."

Gender Equity

The University's commitment to diversity and inclusion is demonstrated in the gains we have made in closing the gender gap at all levels of the University. In December 2016, the University of Canberra was awarded its tenth consecutive citation as an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA). The 2014-2015 WGEA Gender Equality benchmark report demonstrates that the gender composition of our workforce continues to maintain a significant advantage over its comparison group*.

Gender composition of the workforce graph

*Comparison group contains 4,670 organisations in the 2014-15 reporting period.

This is a significant achievement, and one that recognises the University of Canberra as one of Australia's leading employers for Gender Equality. While this record represents a significant achievement for which we should all be proud, this initiative seeks to continue to close the remaining gender gap that exists in academic leadership and management positions. We are almost there.

The Building on our Status as an Employer of Choice strategy aims to recognise gender equality as a societal issue, and a workplace matter to be addressed. The University's challenge is to build on our success, and we aim to do so by focusing on:

  • Recruitment & retention
  • Leadership development
  • Achieving and maintaining relevant accreditations
  • Academic promotion rates, with a focus on STEMM
  • Creating an appropriate work environment
  • Improving and maintaining our sector leading flexible and family friendly conditions of employment

Details of these six objectives can be found below.

Related Documents

UC's Gender Equality Strategy Objectives:


The University's Managed Recruitment Service has gender, and other diversity KPIs, built into the contract. The current contract requires the University and its recruitment partners to meet or exceed the gender target of > 50% successful candidates being women, a target that has been exceeded in all quarters to date. Continued successful recruitment across all levels of employment at the University, along with targeted retention strategies, will continue to improve our gender composition at all levels. 


University remuneration is in the top third of the higher education sector, and is highly competitive compared to our local market. The new University Enterprise Agreement improved what were already community leading flexible work practices, parental leave provisions and other attractive benefits. See the Flexible and family friendly conditions of employment section for further detail.

In recognition of the required improvement in the gender composition at management levels, the University's Talent Management team has shifted its gender focus to leadership programs targeting this cohort of employee, with women's participation targets.

The two flagship programs aimed at current and aspiring professional and academic managers are the Management Essentials and Emerging Leaders courses which have a gender target of > 50% women attendees. The same target applies to the University's mentoring program.

Domestic and Family Violence

The University was proudly a member of the first cohort of employers in Australia to become an accredited White Ribbon Workplace. Our continuing accreditation is one important way to demonstrate our commitment to assist employees facing domestic and family violence, are the domestic violence provisions of our Enterprise Agreement and the associated domestic violence protocols.

Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace

The University recognises the importance of supporting women in a transition back into the workplace from parental leave. Maintaining our Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace accreditation, along with our flexible working conditions (including paid breastfeeding breaks), is critical to supporting a workplace culture which supports women and employees with young families.

The considerable time it takes to establish a research profile, both in terms of attracting research grant income and building a record of publishing in world ranked journals, means that career breaks for parental leave and caring responsibilities can have a greater impact on academic employees than their professional and clerical staff colleagues. This is evidenced by the lower rates of promotion for women to the Associate Professor and Professor levels. This strategy includes two measures to address this issue:

Coaching & Support

In order to progress promotion rates for women, the University has committed to the introduction of targeted coaching, mentoring and support for women Associate Professors aimed at increasing our promotions rate to Professorial appointments.

The Athena Swan Charter & the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) Initiative


In September 2015, the University of Canberra became an inaugural member of the Athena Swan Charter aimed at tackling gender equality in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and medicine (STEMM). The associated SAGE Initiative aims to bring together the fragmented approaches to gender strategies in STEMM. Women in Science and other areas of STEMM research has become a high profile national conversation due to the statistics that demonstrate while women account for 50% of PhD graduates, they represent only 17% of senior academics nationally. Through this initiative, the University of Canberra seeks to build on the improvements made in academic promotions in recent years with better targeted strategies into the future.

Read more about the Athena Swan Charter & the SAGE Initiative here.

In the life of this strategy, the University has significantly improved its flexibility terms, and family friendly conditions of employment, including:

  • Increasing Paid Parental Leave from 20 to 26 weeks (clause 20 of the Agreement)
  • Increased Paid Partner Leave from 5 to 10 days; and
  • Broadened employee's ability to negotiate Individual Flexibility Arrangements, to alter hours of work and how work is performed to better accommodate and balance work and life (clause 4 of the Agreement).

The University of Canberra is committed to continuing to improve gender equality through initiatives that assist in the development of women and through structured processes that ensure that there is equal remuneration for equal work.

Our regular review of our workforce through benchmarking initiatives such as the Australian Higher Education Industrial Association HR Benchmarking and Mercer Remuneration Review allow us to constantly monitor gender equality at all levels of the University.