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An exploration of perceptions of gender equity among SAGE Athena SWAN self-assessment team members in a regional Australian university

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 11:59 authored by Meredith NashMeredith Nash, Ruby GrantRuby Grant, Li-Min LeeLi-Min Lee, Martinez-Marrades, A, Tania WinzenbergTania Winzenberg
Gender inequality in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Medicine (STEMM) is well documented internationally. The Athena SWAN (AS) Charter was launched in the UK in 2005 to provide an impetus for positive cultural and structural changes to advance gender equality in UK universities. The Australian pilot of the AS Charter began in 2015 and is overseen by the Australian Academy of Sciences. Despite extensive engagement with AS over the last 15 years in the UK and more recently in Australia, qualitative research on the awards application process and its impact on AS Self-Assessment Team (SAT) members is limited. To fill this knowledge gap, we undertook a qualitative interview study examining how gender and gender equity are operationalised and understood by SAT members in the first year of an AS pilot at a regional Australian university. Findings indicate key gender differences in SAT members’ motivations for AS participation which, we argue, potentially translates into unequal gendered workload distributions on the SAT. Although AS is positioned as a key mechanism for addressing inequality in STEMM broadly, this study suggests that the initiative’s impacts in Australia risk being undermined by its unintentional reproduction of gender inequality in the academic workforce.


Publication title

Higher Education Research and Development








School of Social Sciences



Place of publication

United Kingdom

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Expanding knowledge in human society

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