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Athena SWAN Gender
Equity Charter at CSU
Advancing diversity and inclusivity at CSU

Diversity is at the core of CSU's values. Our commitment to gender equity is vital to attracting the best researchers and academics.

Women comprise more than half of science PhD graduates and early career researchers, but just 17% of senior academics in Australian universities and research institutes. The loss of so many women scientists is a significant waste of expertise, talent and investment, and this impacts our nation's scientific performance and productivity.


The Athena SWAN Charter

The Athena SWAN Charter aims to enhance gender equity in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM). The charter began in the UK in 2005 and so far, more than 150 universities are subscribed globally. Many have achieved awards for their improvements to gender equity.

Through CSU's participation in the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) pilot, we will accelerate gender equity across our STEMM disciplines. We are analysing our policies and processes, unearthing gaps and opportunities and working to improve gender equity for staff and students, via the action plan [PDF] developed to support our Athena SWAN Bronze Award Application.

Our participation augments the Leadership Development for Women program and the Senior Women's Leadership Forum. Our work toward the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) Employer of Choice citation also benefits our submission.

Bronze Award image

Bronze award

The institution has built a solid foundation for improving gender equity in STEMM.

Silver Award image

Silver award

The institution has a significant record of activity and achievement toward improving gender equity.

Gold Award image

Gold award

The institution has a sustained record of activity, achievement, demonstrable impact and leadership in the sector.

In Australia, both research institutions and universities join the Charter with the expectation of working towards an Athena SWAN Award, beginning with a Bronze Institutional Award. CSU is part of the inaugural Australian group applying for the bronze award.

The data tells the story

Analysis of the data gathered around CSU's promotion, wages and experiences indicates that there is a gap between the level of wages for men and women at a number of promotion levels, and for both professional and academic staff.

CSU academic staff numbers as at 31 March 2016

Level Total staffMenWomen
Level A 72 22 50
Level B 390 168 222
Level C 168 97 71
Level D 61 37 24
Level E 59 44 15

CSU general staff numbers as at 31 March 2016

Level Total staffMenWomen
Level 1 26 9 17
Level 2 31 13 18
Level 3 63 23 40
Level 4 305 42 263
Level 5 257 52 205
Level 6 268 94 174
Level 7 173 75 98
Level 8 87 49 38
Level 9 48 24 24
Level 10 and above 67 34 33
Total 1325 415 910

CSU provides many opportunities for women academics at level B, and general staff at levels 4–7. However, we have a way to go before we have equal representation in the senior and leadership positions on both academic and general positions. This is what we are working toward through our engagement with Athena SWAN.

Our values reflect the diverse, passionate and engaged people working with us. We identified staff as leaders for change and engagement to define our Self-Assessment Team (SAT) and we're collecting data in STEMM areas, performing analysis and planning workshops.

Our culture change, communications and career transition sub-teams are making good progress on initial ideas for change, however we recognise the cost, time and resources associated with many proper support and many of the emergent activities.

As we plan the most practical strategies to make a real difference toward reaching gender equity in STEMM at CSU, we are beginning to engage staff in changing behaviours. We believe that everyone can make a contribution, and gender equity should be something that all of us are mindful of as well as in the actions we take.

The Athena SWAN Charter

The Athena SWAN Charter includes 10 principles, which institutions commit to adopt to promote and support gender equality for women.

Read more

CSU's first Diversity and Equity Staff Survey

Inclusion is one of Charles Sturt University's four core values. An inclusive culture values diversity and so we sought after the diverse experiences of our staff. The Diversity and Equity Staff Survey received 748 responses from staff, sharing their experiences.

What we've done


Tim Wess presented to veski Group.


Tim Wess presented at the SAGE scoping meeting.


Tim Wess presented to the Garvan Institute.


Call for SAT expressions of Interest, leading to 25 notifications.


Call for SAT expressions of Interest, leading to 25 notifications.


Presentation to CSU Leadership Development for Women (LDW) Forum.


SAT member meetings with University of Canberra, finding common ground for working together.


Visit from Dr Zuleyka Zevallos, with more than 190 attendees – the largest of any university.


Tim Wess appointed to the National Advisory Committee of SAGE.


SAT working parties formed: Cultural Change, Communications and Career Transition.

15 February

Canberra training with 10 members of the CSU SAT.


Tim Wess presented at the Garvan Institute at La Trobe Senior Women’s Research Forum.

16 February

First article by CSU published on Croakey, Advocating for gender equity within universities, following CSU securing a regular spot to report on the journey we have undertaken.

17 February

Meeting with equity group, Australian Synchrotron.


Tim Wess presented at University of Tasmania Engendering Equity in Health, Science and Academia.


Athena SWAN web pages developed in the CSU Interact2 learning environment.

20 June

Gender Equity in the Australian Digital Economy: Developing Strategies for Industry meetings in Sydney – attended by SAT.

22 June

'Gender Equity in the Australian Digital Economy' Workshop and meeting with CSIRO team in Canberra – attended by SAT.

23–24 June

SAGE National Network Meeting and Symposium 2016, with strong CSU representation.

12 July

Meeting with SAGE CEO, Wafa El-Adhami in Canberra, as well as CSIRO staff members.

19 July

SAGE Regional Network Meeting with active planning for unconscious bias training.

26 July

Tim Wess gave a presentation at the NSW Department of Industry's gender equality forum.


SAT Data working party formed.

26 November

Published article titled ‘A Call to Action for Equality’.


$1500 Association of Commonwealth Universities ACU Gender Programme Workshop grant was awarded.

10 February

Face-to-face SAT members' meeting in Young to look at first draft of application.

20 February

Athena SWAN Regional Network Action Planning Workshop.

20 March

Inaugural CSU Diversity and Equity Staff Survey launch.

23 March

SAT Regional Meeting.

26 April

Athena SWAN data collected and discussed at the Data Working Party meeting.


Regional meeting for CSU SAT staff.


Launched and the CSU Athena SWAN web page.

Get involved

The journey toward gaining the Bronze Athena SWAN Award is for everyone at CSU. These are some simple ways you can make a difference.

Schedule meetings between 10am and 3pm

Many people don't work '9 to 5' and may have caring responsibilities. When setting meetings, give attendees enough warning so that they can make alternative caring arrangements.

Support return-to-work staff

Be understanding through your colleague's transition. Some benefits for new and expectant parents include return to work days, flexible work arrangements, breastfeeding on campus, and parental leave for adoption.

Support promotion

Know a woman whose abilities are not being recognised? Encourage them to apply for promotion or take up leadership opportunities. This might be as a coach or mentor. Help them to identify their unique strengths and to sell themselves to others.

Thoughtfully use images and language

Your choice of image and language send a message. Sometimes we inadvertently present a limited view of opportunity or expectation. Remember when emoji presented a limited diversity of women's careers?

Listen and reflect

When you're having a conversation and hear something that reinforces gender stereotypes, question or point this out. Speak up when faced with sexist or misogynist ideas.

Celebrate successes

Celebrate your colleagues' achievements and contribution to CSU values, goals and strategies. Recognise these for what they are, rather than reinforcing gender or diversity.

Contact us to find out more

What's next

2 May

SAT meetings

  • Data working party meeting (every four weeks)
  • All working parties meet every four weeks and report back to the monthly SAT meeting.The journey toward gaining the Bronze Athena SWAN Award is for everyone at CSU. These are some simple ways you can make a difference.

22 May

Regional meetings

Planning and sharing processes and information.

22 May

SAT presentation

Tim Wess delivers a keynote about gender equity titled ‘Inclusive approaches: A strategic advantage or just doing the right thing?’

2 June

ANU Science Teaching and Learning Colloquium

Tim Wess presents to both the SAT of University of Canberra and Australian National University (ANU).

10–11 August

ACU Gender Programme Workshop

As part of the HDR Seminar, this student-focused workshop will look at barriers to female entrepreneurship.

10–11 August

Unconscious Bias Training

Details to come

5–6 September

SAGE Symposium 2017

Bringing SAGE members together to workshop solutions and actions; strengthen and develop networks; and share best practices to improve participation, retention and success of women and gender minorities in STEMM. Find out more

March 2018 deadline

Ongoing submission input

SAT members continue to build on the content for the submission form through data, surveys and activities.

The Self-Assessment Team

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Tim Wessmore_vert
Tim Wessclose

Executive Dean
Faculty of Science

Professor Tim Wess was appointed as Executive Dean, Faculty of Science CSU in May 2013. Since his arrival, Tim has made a significant improvement to the scrutiny, management and the financial viability of the faculty’s human and animal clinics. With a strong belief in equality, he recently completed a graduate certificate in Wiradjuri to show his commitment to the aboriginal people on who's land CSU is located. Tim has vast experience in innovation and engagement, communicating science to the public, advising science and health policy, and has worked with a number of charities.

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Alexandra Knightmore_vert
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School of Environmental Sciences

Dr Alexandra Knight is an ecologist and social researcher. Her ecological research focuses on frogs of the Murray-Darling Basin and she is currently researching the ecology of the little known and threatened Sloane's Froglet, Crinia sloanei. Her social research explores how new information is incorporated in natural resource decision making.

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Katrina Durhammore_vert
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School of Agriculture and Wines Sciences

Before joining CSU in 2015, Katrina spent three-and-a-half years in Singapore, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea (PNG) managing sustainable projects. Katrina managed the sustainability department of an oil palm plantation on New Ireland Province in PNG focusing on the sustainability of the palm oil value chain, plantation OH&S, and land issues for world’s largest plantation company.

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School of Community Health

Dr Kristy Robson has worked as a health professional in regional NSW for the past 21 years. Kristy is Deputy President of the NSW Podiatry Council and lectures in podiatry and. Her research interests focus on preventing falls in the older person from a regional perspective.

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Leadership for Women Coordinator, Lecturer
Division of Human Resources, Faculty of Business Justice and Behavioural Studies

Hedy has worked in leadership development and organisational change management at CSU, receiving a Doctor of Communication in 2016. Formerly Manager, Diversity and Equity, Hedy helped to establish the SAT in 2015–16. She is currently facilitating the CSU Leadership for Women Program and lecturing in the Master of Business Leadership.

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Mark Frostmore_vert
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Head of School
School of Management and Marketing

Mark’s background includes a sixteen-year banking career with a major Australian bank where he worked in international trade, financial markets, corporate banking, and regional agribusiness banking areas. Mark is responsible for 4000 students and 30 full-time academic staff, and is actively engaged with CSU study partners in Sydney, Melbourne, China and Cambodia.

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Associate Professor
School of Animal and Vet Sciences

Jane teaches Veterinary Epidemiology and Public Health and runs a wellness program to help Vet students develop protective health and wellness strategies. Jane’s main research interest is in infectious disease epidemiology, with particular reference to antimicrobial resistant organisms, and the potential for zoonotic transfer of bacterial pathogens.

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Marta Hernandez-Jovermore_vert
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Senior Lecturer
School of Animal and Vet Sciences

Dr Marta Hernandez-Jover lectures in Epidemiology and Veterinary Public Health. Her research focuses on biosecurity risks and risk analysis methods applied to infectious animal diseases and public health. Marta has a PhD from the Universitat Autonoma of Barcelona majoring in livestock traceability and a Master of Veterinary Public Health Management from the University of Sydney.

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Senior Lecturer
School of Agricultural and Wine Sciences

Dr Julia Howitt teaches first-year chemistry, third-year instrumental analysis and third-year laboratory safety and management. Her recent work as an environmental and analytical chemist includes rapid response and monitoring of water quality emergencies in the southern Murray-Darling Basin and provision of advice to water managers during these emergencies.

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Head of School
Dentistry and Health Sciences

Professor Boyen Huang was appointed as Head of School in January 2015. He is also the President-elect of the Australian and New Zealand Division of the International Association for Dental Research (IADR). Professor Huang teaches clinical dentistry and oral health therapy and his research interests include paediatric dentistry and dental traumatology.

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Will Lettsmore_vert
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Associate Dean, Academic
Faculty of Arts and Education

Will is a science educator who for decades has taught pre-service teachers about teaching science to children and young people. His doctoral and continuing research is in the areas of science education, gender studies and cultural studies of science education. His recent work explores what can be gained by bringing queer theoretical lenses to bear on science curricula and pedagogies.

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Senior Lecturer
School of Exercise Science, Sport and Health

Dr Chelsea Litchfield teaches in the areas of sport sociology, sports media and sport ethics and is also the Honours Coordinator for the Bachelor of Exercise Science (Honours). Chelsea’s research interests lie in sport and gender, sport and sexuality and the relationship between sport and media.

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Senior Lecturer
School of Biomedical Sciences

Patricia teaches anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology and introductory pharmacology courses to students enrolled in health-related degrees. Her research spans the teaching of science for tertiary health programs, the transition of clinicians to careers in the academy, and various health related projects.

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Senior Lecturer
School of Nursing, Midwifery and Indigenous Health

Dr Faye McMillan teaches in the areas of mental health, research, pharmacology and social science, and is the Discipline Lead for the Bachelor of Health Science (Mental Health) and Director of the Djirruwang Program. Faye is also involved in research projects that explore concepts of sovereignty from three Indigenous Australian Nations.

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Jim Morganmore_vert
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Professor and Course Director
CSU Engineering

Jim is Professor of Engineering and Inaugural Course Director for CSU Engineering. Much of his career has been devoted to increasing participation in engineering and other STEM disciplines. Before joining CSU, Jim was director of Aggie STEM, a centre at Texas A&M University dedicated to advancing STEM education.

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Sub Dean Learning and Teaching
Faculty of Arts and Education

Dr Rachel Richardson has an extensive career in education spanning 35 years across primary schools, selective high schools and universities, as well as government. Rachel’s recent research examines the lived experience of older transwomen as they move from later working life to retirement and on to old age.

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Sandra Savocchiaclose

School of Agriculture and Wines Sciences

Dr Sandra Savocchia is the Sub Dean (Graduate Studies) in the Faculty of Science and manages all aspects of higher degree and honours programs. Prior to this Sandra was the Associate Head for the School of Agricultural and Wine Sciences. Sandra has a PhD in plant pathology and has maintained an active research profile over 14 years at CSU.

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Faculty of Science

Linda’s research focuses on the way children and families are cared for in health services, in particular in rural areas. Linda’s interest in Athena SWAN is from the perspective of nursing, where only 10 per cent of nurses are men. She believes it is important that Athena SWAN takes a gender equity approach.

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Cate Thomasmore_vert
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Course Director, Senior Lecturer
School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Cate has worked predominantly in government in management, policy and planning, funding, operations, and research in the fields of disability, child and family welfare, and children and young people. She has also worked in the non-government disability sector and as a private social policy consultant.

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Janelle Wheatmore_vert
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Associate Dean Academic
Faculty of Science

Associate Professor Janelle Wheat is an exceptionally innovative leader with the proven ability to initiate and inform the strategic development and implementation of highly diverse projects within the tertiary sector. With over 10 years of experience working within a range of university schools, complemented by experience in the private and government sectors, Associate Professor Wheat is driven to create innovative opportunities to improve teaching and learning outcomes for both students and faculty alike.

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Ben Wilsonmore_vert
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Head of School
School of Environmental Sciences

Ben has almost 10 years’ experience as Head of School where he is responsible for managing 22 full-time staff and 50 sessional staff. He was previously Sub Dean Learning and Teaching for the Faculty of Science and is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

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Denise Woodmore_vert
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Senior Lecturer, Course Design Lead
Division of Student learning

Denise is a member of the Smart Learning Project team and supports Course Directors in the Faculty of Arts and Education to work through the CSU Course Design. Her research focus is giftedness, gifted education, and in particular, the talent development of rural gifted girls.

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Andrew Coxmore_vert
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Strategic Projects Officer
Faculty of Science

Andrew is currently the Strategic Projects Officer in the Faculty of Science. He has 21 years’ professional work experience at CSU in Student Administration, schools and faculty offices.

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Diversity and Equity Manager
Human Resources

Craig has worked in the social justice advocacy area for more than two decades, mostly in higher education. Prior to CSU, Craig worked as the Equity and Diversity Manager at Western Sydney University where he contributed significantly to the unit’s projects including WGEA employer of choice for gender equality applications.

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SAGE logo

Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) is a national program promoting gender equity and gender diversity in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM).

Athena Swan logo

Athena SWAN has been running for over a decade in the UK, successfully enhancing gender equity for STEMM.The SAGE Pilot is a trial of the Athena SWAN Charter within the Australian context.