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About Gender Equity and Diversity

The University of Adelaide believes strongly in equal opportunity for women, and has a long history of championing the rights of women in higher education.

In 1881 it was the first Australian university to admit women to academic courses.

Over its history, the University of Adelaide 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), and the first Australian women to receive a doctorate in music, Ruby Davy (B.Mus., 1907; D.Mus., 1918). The University was also the first to elect a woman to a University Council, Helen Mayo (MBBS, 1902).

View the Gender Equity and Diversity Timeline to view more achievements and important milestones.

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 of Adelaide 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 for the University include:


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For all enquiries please contact the Human Resources Service Centre.

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Sandstone building at the University of Adelaide's North Terrace Campus