About Gender Equity
In 1881 the University of Adelaide was the first Australian university to admit women to academic courses.
Over its history, the University has been responsible for many important milestones in Australia’s social reform, including:
- the University’s first female graduate, Edith Emily Dornwell (BSc., 1885),
- Australia’s first female surgeon, Laura Fowler (MB, 1891),
- the first Australian women to receive a doctorate in music, Ruby Davy (B.Mus., 1907; D.Mus., 1918), and
- the University was also the first to elect a woman to a University Council, Helen Mayo (MBBS, 1902).
For more achievements and important milestones see our gender equity and diversity timeline.
In more recent years the University has made gender equity a key focus area, specifically incorporating gender targets as part of the new Strategic Plan, Beacon of Enlightenment, which sets out the vision for the University over the next decade, as the 150th anniversary approaches in 2024.
The University is committed to improving the gender equity of its senior leadership, and has a number of initiatives, activities and groups that are helping work towards this goal.
Current areas of focus
University of Adelaide Equal Opportunity Policy
The University is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Through the Equal Opportunity Policy the University seeks to promote the principles of equal opportunity; equity, fairness and social justice and to acting in accordance with relevant legislation.
SAGE Athena SWAN
The University is participating in the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) Athena SWAN pilot.
This is a national program promoting gender equity and gender diversity in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM), run by the Australian Academy of Science in partnership with the Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE).
The Dornwell Framework
Adelaide Women Leadership Development Program
Adelaide Women Leadership Development Program recognises that women are under-represented in senior roles in higher education.
It provides targeted development activities for women identified as having the aspirations and ability to progress into senior leadership and decision making positions in the University.
The program is run every second year for both academic and professional staff.
Adelaide Women Support Network
The Adelaide Women Leadership Support Network consists of participants that have successfully completed the Adelaide Women Leadership Development Program.
The program is designed to develop women with the potential and willingness to move into senior leadership roles.
Fay Gale Centre for Research on Gender
The Fay Gale Centre develops, promotes and expands existing research excellence in the field of Gender within the University of Adelaide, and builds on the University's commitment to promote social justice, equality and diversity in the community and its own workplace.
Women's Professional Development Network
Women's Professional Development Network (WPDN) is a unique and dynamic 'grassroots' network designed to support the professional and personal development of women employed by the University through activities that have been shown to promote leadership, personal job satisfaction, positive work attitude and career advancement.
Academic Women's Forum
The Academic Women's Forum (AWF) is a group of academic women who meet twice a year to share information, ideas, and make contacts across the university.
Visit the AWF website to find further information about the AWF, its activities, its resources, and news that may be of interest to academic women.
Staff Gender Equity committee
The Staff Gender Equity Committee (SGE) is a sub-committee of the Vice-Chancellor's Committee that was formed in October 1999 and commenced meeting in March 2000. It has met regularly since that time, taking a proactive and strategic role in progressing the equity agenda in the University.
Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) reporting
The Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) is an Australian Government statutory agency charged with promoting and improving gender equality in Australian workplaces.
The agency is also responsible for administering the Workplace Gender Equality Act. More information about the agency and the Act can be found on the WGEA website.
- University of Adelaide WGEA Report 2018-2019
As employees of the University of Adelaide you may make comments on the report to: