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International Women’s Day celebrated at UOW

Be bold for change - a time to reflect. 

International Women’s Day is a time to reflect and celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women worldwide.

This Wednesday 8 March, the University of Wollongong (UOW) will be celebrating International Women’s Day (IWD) in conjunction with the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), hosting a full-day workshop for the Regional Network of the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) pilot project at UOW’s Science Teaching Facility.

In September 2015, UOW was announced as one of the first universities in Australia to participate in a new program to help further the careers of academic women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM). The SAGE pilot is based on the successful UK Athena SWAN model, an accreditation and improvement program that recognises commitment to advancing women’s careers in traditionally male-dominated disciplines. ANSTO is also one of the Australian research-based organisations involved in the pilot.

UOW Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paul Wellings CBE, said International Women’s Day is a wonderful opportunity to recognise the achievements of women around the University.

“We are proud to recognise and acknowledge the women at UOW who are working hard in teaching, research and administration to achieve their goals and deliver outstanding results for the University,” he said.

“The University of Wollongong is committed to addressing gender pay equity and dissolving barriers to the selection, advancement and opportunities for people of all genders in the workplace.”

ANSTO CEO Dr Adi Paterson said his organisation is thrilled to be jointly hosting the workshop, especially on this day, when we can acknowledge the profound impact women have in the sciences.

“Encouraging more people into the sciences and more people into advanced degrees is vital to our nation’s economic future,” Dr Paterson said.

“We already have extraordinarily talented women in our organisation who are solving problems for industry, finding alternative fuels for the transportation industry and working to cure diseases - and we need more of them.

“The skills, insight and energy women bring to STEMM disciplines move us forward, and that is something ANSTO is proud to recognise and celebrate alongside the excellent work being done by the women of UOW and our joint involvement in the SAGE pilot.”

All UOW staff are invited to the official welcome and opening of the workshop, which will be followed by a keynote address by Senior Professor Sharon Robinson.Senior Professor Robinson was last year announced as one of UOW’s 2016 Women of Impact and is well known internationally for her research into Antarctic mosses and as a leading plant ecophysiologist and climate change biologist. Through her keynote address, Professor Robinson will discuss her experiences working as a scientist across five continents and focus on her involvement in some of the positive actions that Antarctic woman researchers have taken over the past year.

“We can all lead within our own spheres of influence by taking bold pragmatic action to accelerate gender parity. Through purposeful collaboration, we can all helpwomen advance and unleash the limitless potential offered to economies the world over,” she said.

“IWD is supposed to celebrate respect and appreciate women for their economic, political and social achievements, but I think we should be doing that every day.”

The IWD theme for 2017 is ‘be bold for change’ and is a call on the masses to help forge a better working world – a more gender inclusive world.

IWD embed

 UOW has been consistently recognised by the Federal Government as one of the best workplaces in Australia for gender equality, meeting a stringent criteria to be recognised as a Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) ‘Employer of Choice’.

Professor Wellings said the University has a wide range of strategies and initiatives in place to achieve gender equality including generous paid parental leave (available to both genders), flexible work arrangements, mentoring workshops, targeted development programs and on campus childcare facilities.

“As part of the SAGE program, we are committed to upholding 10 key principles of gender equality, including commitment to preventing the loss of women across the career pipeline, tackling the gender pay gap, addressing the negative consequences of short-term contracts and stamping out discrimination against transgender staff,” Professor Wellings said.

In 2016 the University officially launched the Women of Impact initiative, celebrating the work of outstanding women at UOW. UOW Women of Impact is inspired by the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) pilot and a number of other initiatives the University is undertaking to continually review, assess and improve gender equality.