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