Gender equity in education

Gender equity

Our commitment to gender equity

We advance gender equity by promoting women in leadership and furthering women’s education.

In 1881 we became one of the first universities in the world to admit female students. By 1990 — just over a century after the first woman graduated — women students outnumbered men for the first time in our history, with 15,000 women enrolled in a student body of 26,000. Women now make up well over half of our staff community – 57 percent in a total of 8000 staff (based on 2018 statistics).

These stories highlight our rich history – built on a foundation of inclusion – and our commitment to opening the doors to everyone to flourish in their educational pursuits.

Fast tracking leadership progression

Gender balance is a key component of our Diversity and Inclusion Strategy. To achieve gender balance, the Women’s Career Acceleration and Leadership Strategy has been designed to help us increase female representation at leadership levels across the University. Through targeted initiatives that increase the contribution and inclusion of our 55% female workforce, our aim is to shift our culture to create a level playing field for all staff.

Our Women’s Career Acceleration and Leadership Strategy is designed to accelerate representation of women at all levels at the University and address several key areas:

  • developing the capability of our leaders to lead inclusively
  • setting female representation targets, and implementing and building strategies at local levels
  • providing career support and flexible career pathways
  • investigating pay equity
  • consistently implementing and managing flexible working arrangements.

Science in Australia Gender Equity – Athena SWAN Bronze Award

As part of the University’s aim to promote gender equity in education we have gained the Bronze Award in the Athena SWAN accreditation, as part of our commitment to the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) initiative.

Read the University’s Athena SWAN application here (pdf, 6.9MB).

The SAGE program promotes gender equity and diversity through assessing gender equality policies and practices and helping organisations establish ways to promote and retain women and gender minorities in their ranks.

Gender equity round table discussion

Women share their experiences of playing leadership roles in male-dominated fields.

Female staff, students and alumna gathered to participate in an open discussion on the state of play for women in the workplace.

The group also gave honest accounts of work and study and offered advice on finding the right career, the importance of mentoring and what makes a good leader. 

Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) Reports

Each year organisations that employ more than 100 employees provide high level workforce data to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) who use this data to gain insight into gender representation and gender pay equity across Australia.

The University of Sydney also published an employer statement on 27 March following the release of the institution's gender pay gap data by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency.

Our WGEA Public Reports are available to download below.

WGEA Public Report(s) 2022-23

WGEA Public Report(s) 2021-22

WGEA Public Report(s) 2020-21:

Previous WGEA Public Reports

The Panel Pledge

The Panel Pledge enables members of our University community to improve gender diversity on discussion panels, discussion forums and other external events.

The pledge is supported by the University’s SAGE program and consistent with our strategic aspiration to foster a culture that is built on our values.

More than 250 University staff have signed the pledge and that number continues to steadily grow. If you are interested in signing it, please contact us.

Throughout the year we will share the stories of inspirational women leaders from across the University.

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