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University of Newscastle awarded two Cygnet Awards

2 min read

The University of Newcastle has become the first University in Australia to be awarded two Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) Cygnet Awards, recognising its work to support academic and professional women. 

To achieve a Cygnet Award, organisations must demonstrate their commitment to removing or reducing barriers to gender equity, diversity, and inclusion. 

“I am incredibly proud that our institution is the first in Australia to achieve this milestone, and even prouder of the collaboration across multiple teams that has delivered significant improvements to how we support the careers of our female staff and students,” said Professor Alex Zelinksy AO, University of Newcastle Vice-Chancellor. 

Professor Zelinsky highlighted that the University is more stronger and successful if they foster a diverse and inclusive workforce.  

The first Cygnet focused on career development support for women across the Institution and assessed the impact of leadership, mentoring, and support programs on the progression and retention of women and other underrepresented groups. 

The second Cygnet focused on the impact of strategies including targeted female and targeted Indigenous recruitment and high-school outreach programs to improve the pipeline of female and under-represented students and staff for the College of Engineering, Science and Environment.  

“I am delighted that the University of Newcastle’s initiatives have led to more women and Indigenous people getting hired and promoted, but what stood out to me was the University’s analysis of what made these programs work and how they can be improved,” said Dr Janin Bredehoeft, SAGE CEO.  

Pro Vice-Chancellor Academic Excellence and Athena Swan Lead Professor Jennifer Milam shared that while there was still work to do to embed some of the initiatives further, she was pleased that SAGE had endorsed the progress the University has made to date. 

“The work we are doing as part of the SAGE Cygnet Awards will embed the cultural change that is required to ensure that our female members of staff have confidence that the University of Newcastle can offer them a career path,” said Professor Milam.

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Menchie Khairuddin is a writer Deputy Content Manager at Akolade and content producer for Third Sector News. She is passionate about social affairs specifically in mixed, multicultural heritage and not-for-profit organisations.


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