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Media Release by The Hon Julie Bishop MP

Promoting gender equity for Australian universities

The Australian Government will fund an action plan to address the under-representation of women in senior positions at the nation’s universities, the Minister for Education, Science and Training, the Hon Julie Bishop MP announced today.

“Funding will provided for the second AVCC (Australian Vice-Chancellors’ Committee) Action Plan for Women Employed in Australian Universities 2006 – 2010 to help ensure the skills and capabilities of the higher education sector’s entire workforce are utilised effectively,” Minister Bishop said.

“Universities have made notable progress in increasing the number of women employed and achieving equity, however women are still significantly under-represented at higher levels. This initiative acknowledges the challenges faced by women who work in the higher education sector, and will look at ways of helping to address them.

“Australia is experiencing a high level of demand for skills, so it is vital to encourage workforce participation. Employers, including universities, need to reduce the challenges faced by half the workforce, such as more flexible working arrangements for employees with family responsibilities,” Minister Bishop said.

The Australian Government will match the $190,000 contribution by the higher education sector to address the Action Plan’s priorities of:

  • encouraging all universities to integrate equity strategies and performance indicators into their institutional plans;
  • significantly improving the representation of women in senior roles by encouraging equity initiatives in critical areas; and
  • monitoring the entry patterns of women into academia, and responding to barriers to sustained entry.

The Action Plan has the support of the AVCC’s Senior Women’s Colloquium, and complements Australian Government strategies to optimise the status and position of women, and promote gender equality.

For more information see Worplace Productivity Programme (www.dest.gov.au/wpp)