Research has consistently shown that equitable, diverse and inclusive workplaces are more productive and innovative, and achieve better outcomes.

Studies also show that systemic barriers have a negative effect on the attraction, retention and progression of women in academic and research careers.

The loss of such expertise is a waste of knowledge, skills and investment, and impacts our nation’s research performance and productivity.

To ensure we benefit from our top-quality academic and research talent, we need to ensure gender balance and diversity throughout the academic pipeline.

SAGE considers gender balance to be 40% women, 40% men, 20% people of any gender. Applying a 40:40:20 approach is inclusive of those identifying outside of the gender binary, which is a key principle of Athena Swan. Compared to a 50:50 approach, it also better accommodates minor fluctuations and is more realistic when working with small numbers.

Data from the Department of Education, Skills and Employment show that women continue to be underrepresented at senior levels in every field.

This image shows a line chart with 4 lines. The chart compares the proportion of men and women, by level, in the natural and physical sciences in 2014 and 2019. The horizontal axis has 6 levels: undergraduate student, postgraduate student, Level A academics, Level B academics, Level C academics, Above Level C academics. The vertical axis shows percentage of gender at each level. The category legend has 4 items: 2019 male percentage, 2019 female percentage, 2014 male percentage, 2014 female percentage. There is gender balance from undergraduate to Level B academic levels. From Level C onwards though, the proportion of women drops below 40%. The gender gap at Level C and above narrowed slightly in 2019.

Table: Student completions (in headcount and percentage) and academic staff (in full-time equivalents and percentage) in 2014 and 2019, by level and gender, in the natural and physical sciences. Source: Higher Education Statistics Staff and Student Data, 2014 and 2019.

2019 2014
Academic Level Male M % Female F% Total Male M % Female F% Total
Undergraduate 10,142 46% 11,789 54% 21,931 8,672 47% 9,961 53% 18,633
Postgraduate 3,247 51% 3,135 49% 6,382 2,308 49% 2,407 51% 4,715
Level A 154 47% 175 53% 329 172 49% 177 51% 349
Level B 449 50% 446 50% 895 600 59% 425 41% 1,025
Level C 659 62% 404 38% 1,063 689 64% 384 36% 1,073
Above Level C 1,362 75% 454 25% 1,816 1,308 80% 322 20% 1,630
GRAND TOTAL 16,013 49% 16,403 51% 32,416 13,749 50% 13,676 50% 27,425

 

This image shows a line chart with 4 lines. The chart compares the proportion of men and women, by level, in information technology in 2014 and 2019. The horizontal axis has 6 levels: undergraduate student, postgraduate student, Level A academics, Level B academics, Level C academics, Above Level C academics. The vertical axis shows percentage of gender at each level. The category legend has 4 items: 2019 male percentage, 2019 female percentage, 2014 male percentage, 2014 female percentage. Men make up more than 70% of students and academic staff at all levels except Level A academics, of which 55% to 60% are men. The gender gap narrows from the undergraduate level to Level A, but widens again from Level B onwards. Generally, compared to 2014, the gender gap is smaller at most levels in 2019.

Table: Student completions (in headcount and percentage) and academic staff (in full-time equivalents and percentage) in 2014 and 2019, by level and gender, in information technology. Source: Higher Education Statistics Staff and Student Data, 2014 and 2019.

2019 2014
Academic Level Male M % Female F% Total Male M % Female F% Total
Undergraduate 9,057 82% 1,992 18% 11,049 6,001 83% 1,254 17% 7,255
Postgraduate 9,785 68% 4,525 32% 14,310 3,734 74% 1,307 26% 5,041
Level A 41 55% 33 45% 74 30 60% 20 40% 50
Level B 280 71% 112 29% 392 205 76% 66 24% 271
Level C 250 80% 64 20% 314 220 76% 71 24% 291
Above Level C 338 80% 84 20% 422 230 80% 59 20% 289
GRAND TOTAL 19,751 74% 6,810 26% 26,561 10,420 79% 2,777 21% 13,197

 

This image shows a line chart with 4 lines. The chart compares the proportion of men and women, by level, in engineering and related technologies in 2014 and 2019. The horizontal axis has 6 levels: undergraduate student, postgraduate student, Level A academics, Level B academics, Level C academics, Above Level C academics. The vertical axis shows percentage of gender at each level. The category legend has 4 items: 2019 male percentage, 2019 female percentage, 2014 male percentage, 2014 female percentage. Men make up at least 70% of students and academic staff at all levels. The proportion of women increases very slightly from the undergraduate level to Level A or B, but then decreases again from Level C onwards. The gender gap is about the same for both years except at Level B, where the gender gap decreased in 2019.

Table: Student completions (in headcount and percentage) and academic staff (in full-time equivalents and percentage) in 2014 and 2019, by level and gender, in the engineering and related technologies. Source: Higher Education Statistics Staff and Student Data, 2014 and 2019.

2019 2014
Academic Level Male M % Female F% Total Male M % Female F% Total
Undergraduate 12,214 82% 2,602 18% 14,816 10,887 84% 2,081 16% 12,968
Postgraduate 8,724 79% 2,344 21% 11,068 5,242 79% 1,361 21% 6,603
Level A 86 75% 28 25% 114 106 77% 32 23% 138
Level B 305 71% 127 29% 432 481 81% 112 19% 593
Level C 532 87% 83 13% 615 582 87% 88 13% 670
Above Level C 854 88% 121 12% 975 836 90% 97 10% 933
GRAND TOTAL 22,715 81% 5,305 19% 28,020 18,134 83% 3,771 17% 21,905

 

This image shows a line chart with 4 lines. The chart compares the proportion of men and women, by level, in architecture and building in 2014 and 2019. The horizontal axis has 6 levels: undergraduate student, postgraduate student, Level A academics, Level B academics, Level C academics, Above Level C academics. The vertical axis shows percentage of gender at each level. The category legend has 4 items: 2019 male percentage, 2019 female percentage, 2014 male percentage, 2014 female percentage. Men outnumber women at all levels. However, there is gender balance from the undergraduate level to Level B for both years, and at Level C in 2019. The proportion of women decreases gradually from postgraduate level onwards. The gender gap is smaller at all levels in 2019.

Table: Student completions (in headcount and percentage) and academic staff (in full-time equivalents and percentage) in 2014 and 2019, by level and gender, in architecture and building. Source: Higher Education Statistics Staff and Student Data, 2014 and 2019.

2019 2014
Academic Level Male M % Female F% Total Male M % Female F% Total
Undergraduate 2,849 54% 2,468 46% 5,317 2,520 59% 1,748 41% 4,268
Postgraduate 1,953 51% 1,901 49% 3,854 1,430 55% 1,186 45% 2,616
Level A 25 52% 23 48% 48 17 59% 12 41% 29
Level B 129 54% 110 46% 239 106 56% 84 44% 190
Level C 131 58% 93 42% 224 122 63% 72 37% 194
Above Level C 109 62% 68 38% 177 111 73% 42 27% 153
GRAND TOTAL 5,196 53% 4,663 47% 9,859 4,306 58% 3,144 42% 7,450

 

This image shows a line chart with 4 lines. The chart compares the proportion of men and women, by level, in agriculture environmental and related studies in 2014 and 2019. The horizontal axis has 6 levels: undergraduate student, postgraduate student, Level A academics, Level B academics, Level C academics, Above Level C academics. The vertical axis shows percentage of gender at each level. The category legend has 4 items: 2019 male percentage, 2019 female percentage, 2014 male percentage, 2014 female percentage. There is gender balance at Level B and below, though women slightly outnumber men. In 2014, the proportion of women dipped below 30% after Level B. The gender gaps at Level C and above narrowed in 2019, although gender balance was still not achieved above Level C.

Table: Student completions (in headcount and percentage) and academic staff (in full-time equivalents and percentage) in 2014 and 2019, by level and gender, in agriculture environmental and related studies. Source: Higher Education Statistics Staff and Student Data, 2014 and 2019.

2019 2014
Academic Level Male M % Female F% Total Male M % Female F% Total
Undergraduate 1,080 45% 1,313 55% 2,393 1,202 47% 1,361 53% 2,563
Postgraduate 870 46% 1,011 54% 1,881 806 47% 891 53% 1,697
Level A 11 50% 11 50% 22 26 47% 29 53% 55
Level B 47 46% 55 54% 102 84 55% 69 45% 153
Level C 91 56% 71 44% 162 131 74% 47 26% 178
Above Level C 194 77% 58 23% 252 187 82% 42 18% 229
GRAND TOTAL 2,293 48% 2,519 52% 4,812 2,436 50% 2,439 50% 4,875

 

This image shows a line chart with 4 lines. The chart compares the proportion of men and women, by level, in health in 2014 and 2019. The horizontal axis has 6 levels: undergraduate student, postgraduate student, Level A academics, Level B academics, Level C academics, Above Level C academics. The vertical axis shows percentage of gender at each level. The category legend has 4 items: 2019 male percentage, 2019 female percentage, 2014 male percentage, 2014 female percentage. Women outnumber men at all levels except Above Level C. Women make up around 75% of students and staff from the undergraduate level to Level B, after which the proportion of women drops sharply. Gender balance is achieved at Level C and above. The gender gap in favour of men at Above Level C is smaller in 2019.

Table: Student completions (in headcount and percentage) and academic staff (in full-time equivalents and percentage) in 2014 and 2019, by level and gender, in health. Source: Higher Education Statistics Staff and Student Data, 2014 and 2019.

2019 2014
Academic Level Male M % Female F% Total Male M % Female F% Total
Undergraduate 9,353 24% 29,792 76% 39,145 8,084 26% 22,699 74% 30,783
Postgraduate 6,609 26% 18,538 74% 25,147 4,635 27% 12,306 73% 16,941
Level A 93 23% 315 77% 408 135 27% 366 73% 501
Level B 510 26% 1,421 74% 1,931 529 28% 1,384 72% 1,913
Level C 545 40% 827 60% 1,372 609 45% 755 55% 1,364
Above Level C 880 55% 715 45% 1,595 1,004 61% 642 39% 1,646
GRAND TOTAL 17,990 26% 51,608 74% 69,598 14,996 28% 38,152 72% 53,148

 

This image shows a line chart with 4 lines. The chart compares the proportion of men and women, by level, in education in 2014 and 2019. The horizontal axis has 6 levels: undergraduate student, postgraduate student, Level A academics, Level B academics, Level C academics, Above Level C academics. The vertical axis shows percentage of gender at each level. The category legend has 4 items: 2019 male percentage, 2019 female percentage, 2014 male percentage, 2014 female percentage. Women outnumber men at all levels. There is no gender balance except at Above Level C in 2014. Generally, the proportion of women decreases as level increases. The gender gap in favour of women became slightly wider in 2019.

Table: Student completions (in headcount and percentage) and academic staff (in full-time equivalents and percentage) in 2014 and 2019, by level and gender, in education. Source: Higher Education Statistics Staff and Student Data, 2014 and 2019.

2019 2014
Academic Level Male M % Female F% Total Male M % Female F% Total
Undergraduate 2,828 23% 9,488 77% 12,316 2,552 19% 10,736 81% 13,288
Postgraduate 4,059 27% 11,064 73% 15,123 5,227 28% 13,540 72% 18,767
Level A 21 21% 79 79% 100 26 25% 78 75% 104
Level B 208 28% 531 72% 739 262 29% 653 71% 915
Level C 175 32% 367 68% 542 194 35% 362 65% 556
Above Level C 169 38% 272 62% 441 180 44% 233 56% 413
GRAND TOTAL 7,460 25% 21,801 75% 29,261 8,441 25% 25,602 75% 34,043

 

This image shows a line chart with 4 lines. The chart compares the proportion of men and women, by level, in management and commerce in 2014 and 2019. The horizontal axis has 6 levels: undergraduate student, postgraduate student, Level A academics, Level B academics, Level C academics, Above Level C academics. The vertical axis shows percentage of gender at each level. The category legend has 4 items: 2019 male percentage, 2019 female percentage, 2014 male percentage, 2014 female percentage. There is gender balance at Level B and below. Women slightly outnumber men at the student levels, but men outnumber women from Level B onwards. The gender gap in favour of men widens from Level B to above Level C, although the gap narrows slightly in 2019.

Table: Student completions (in headcount and percentage) and academic staff (in full-time equivalents and percentage) in 2014 and 2019, by level and gender, in management and commerce. Source: Higher Education Statistics Staff and Student Data, 2014 and 2019.

2019 2014
Academic Level Male M % Female F% Total Male M % Female F% Total
Undergraduate 30,212 48% 32,539 52% 62,751 27,404 47% 31,282 53% 58,686
Postgraduate 24,645 48% 26,371 52% 51,016 19,805 51% 18,791 49% 38,596
Level A 132 52% 120 48% 252 102 46% 119 54% 221
Level B 653 52% 595 48% 1,248 696 55% 569 45% 1,265
Level C 680 61% 429 39% 1,109 598 63% 351 37% 949
Above Level C 734 67% 361 33% 1,095 668 71% 277 29% 945
GRAND TOTAL 57,056 49% 60,415 51% 117,471 49,273 49% 51,389 51% 100,662

 

This image shows a line chart with 4 lines. The chart compares the proportion of men and women, by level, in Society and Culture in 2014 and 2019. The horizontal axis has 6 levels: undergraduate student, postgraduate student, Level A academics, Level B academics, Level C academics, Above Level C academics. The vertical axis shows percentage of gender at each level. The category legend has 4 items: 2019 male percentage, 2019 female percentage, 2014 male percentage, 2014 female percentage. Women outnumber men at Level B and below. The proportion of women decreases gradually from the undergraduate level to Above Level C. There is gender balance between Levels A and C for both years, and at Above Level C in 2019. The gender gap in favour of men at Above Level C narrows in 2019.

Table: Student completions (in headcount and percentage) and academic staff (in full-time equivalents and percentage) in 2014 and 2019, by level and gender, in Society and Culture. Source: Higher Education Statistics Staff and Student Data, 2014 and 2019.

2019 2014
Academic Level Male M % Female F% Total Male M % Female F% Total
Undergraduate 14,678 34% 28,577 66% 43,255 13,747 35% 25,893 65% 39,640
Postgraduate 9,727 35% 18,382 65% 28,109 9,331 38% 15,508 62% 24,839
Level A 179 40% 268 60% 447 213 40% 315 60% 528
Level B 886 44% 1,135 56% 2,021 1,011 46% 1,171 54% 2,182
Level C 894 48% 977 52% 1,871 854 52% 786 48% 1,640
Above Level C 1,297 58% 954 42% 2,251 1,160 63% 692 37% 1,852
GRAND TOTAL 27,661 35% 50,293 65% 77,954 26,316 37% 44,365 63% 70,681

 

This image shows a line chart with 4 lines. The chart compares the proportion of men and women, by level, in creative arts in 2014 and 2019. The horizontal axis has 6 levels: undergraduate student, postgraduate student, Level A academics, Level B academics, Level C academics, Above Level C academics. The vertical axis shows percentage of gender at each level. The category legend has 4 items: 2019 male percentage, 2019 female percentage, 2014 male percentage, 2014 female percentage. Women outnumber men at Level A and below. The proportion of women increases slightly from undergraduate to postgraduate level, falls sharply from postgraduate to Level A, and then decreases very gradually from Level A to Above Level C. There is gender balance from Level A onwards. The gender proportions are fairly constant across both years. The gender gap favouring women increased slightly in 2019, while the gender gap favouring men narrowed slightly in 2019.

Table: Student completions (in headcount and percentage) and academic staff (in full-time equivalents and percentage) in 2014 and 2019, by level and gender, in the creative arts. Source: Higher Education Statistics Staff and Student Data, 2014 and 2019.

2019 2014
Academic Level Male M % Female F% Total Male M % Female F% Total
Undergraduate 7,033 37% 11,909 63% 18,942 6,489 38% 10,701 62% 17,190
Postgraduate 1,254 29% 3,121 71% 4,375 1,279 33% 2,637 67% 3,916
Level A 96 45% 115 55% 211 105 46% 124 54% 229
Level B 427 50% 432 50% 859 463 50% 470 50% 933
Level C 314 50% 320 50% 634 348 52% 316 48% 664
Above Level C 246 54% 206 46% 452 255 58% 186 42% 441
GRAND TOTAL 9,370 37% 16,103 63% 25,473 8,939 38% 14,434 62% 23,373

 

This image shows a line chart with 4 lines. The chart compares the proportion of men and women, by level, in STEMM disciplines in 2014 and 2019. The horizontal axis has 6 levels: undergraduate student, postgraduate student, Level A academics, Level B academics, Level C academics, Above Level C academics. The vertical axis shows percentage of gender at each level. The category legend has 4 items: 2019 male percentage, 2019 female percentage, 2014 male percentage, 2014 female percentage. There is gender balance at Level B and below, though women generally outnumber men. At the student levels, the gender ratio is close to 50:50. The proportion of women increases at Level A, but decreases sharply after Level B. In 2019, the gender gap favouring women at Levels A and B grew wider, while the gender gap favouring men at Levels C and above became smaller.

Table: Student completions (in headcount and percentage) and academic staff (in full-time equivalents and percentage) in 2014 and 2019, by level and gender, in STEMM disciplines. Source: Higher Education Statistics Staff and Student Data, 2014 and 2019.

2019 2014
Academic Level Male M % Female F% Total Male M % Female F% Total
Undergraduate 44,695 47% 49,956 53% 94,651 37,366 49% 39,104 51% 76,470
Postgraduate 31,188 50% 31,454 50% 62,642 18,155 48% 19,458 52% 37,613
Level A 410 41% 585 59% 995 486 43% 636 57% 1,122
Level B 1,720 43% 2,271 57% 3,991 2,005 48% 2,140 52% 4,145
Level C 2,208 59% 1,542 41% 3,750 2,353 62% 1,417 38% 3,770
Above Level C 3,737 71% 1,500 29% 5,237 3,676 75% 1,204 25% 4,880
GRAND TOTAL 83,958 49% 87,308 51% 171,266 64,041 50% 63,959 50% 128,000

 

This image shows a line chart with 4 lines. The chart compares the proportion of men and women, by level, in STEM disciplines in 2014 and 2019. The horizontal axis has 6 levels: undergraduate student, postgraduate student, Level A academics, Level B academics, Level C academics, Above Level C academics. The vertical axis shows percentage of gender at each level. The category legend has 4 items: 2019 male percentage, 2019 female percentage, 2014 male percentage, 2014 female percentage. Men outnumber women at all levels. There is gender balance at Level A in both years, and at Level B in 2019. The proportion of women increases after the postgraduate level to Level A, but decreases gradually from Level B onwards. The gender proportions for students remain static across both years, but the gender gap favouring men from Level A onwards became smaller in 2019.

Table: Student completions (in headcount and percentage) and academic staff (in full-time equivalents and percentage) in 2014 and 2019, by level and gender, in STEM disciplines. Source: Higher Education Statistics Staff and Student Data, 2014 and 2019.

2019 2014
Academic Level Male M % Female F% Total Male M % Female F% Total
Undergraduate 35,342 64% 20,164 36% 55,506 29,282 64% 16,405 36% 45,687
Postgraduate 24,579 66% 12,916 34% 37,495 13,520 65% 7,152 35% 20,672
Level A 317 54% 270 46% 587 351 57% 270 43% 621
Level B 1,210 59% 850 41% 2,060 1,476 66% 756 34% 2,232
Level C 1,663 70% 715 30% 2,378 1,744 72% 662 28% 2,406
Above Level C 2,857 78% 785 22% 3,642 2,672 83% 562 17% 3,234
GRAND TOTAL 65,968 65% 35,700 35% 101,668 49,045 66% 25,807 34% 74,852

 

Selected notes on the data

The source data for the graphs and tables on this page are publicly available online from the Department of Education, Skills and Employment’s Higher Education Statistics Collections.

If you find an error in our charts or tables, let us know.

Student data

  • Gender representation for students were calculated using student completions data from the Department of Education, Skills and Employment uCube. The data extracted were completion count by broad field of education, by broad course level, by year, by gender.
  • The Department of Education, Skills and Employment’s count of female students includes students who have requested their gender to be recorded as neither male nor female.
  • Discipline areas are based on Field of Education, as defined by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment.
  • For the complete data notes, please refer directly to uCube.

Staff data

  • Staff data were extracted from “Full-time Equivalence of Staff by Academic Organisational Groups”, Department of Education, Skills and Employment, Staff Time Series. The data were viewed as full-time equivalents by Academic Organisational Unit, by current duties classification, by year, by gender. All work contract types (full-time and fractional full-time) and current duties terms (tenurial term, limited term, other term) were included.
  • Discipline areas are based on Academic Organisational Unit Groups, as defined by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment.
  • As these charts were based on Academic Organisational Units (AOU) staff data, only staff with “teaching only” or a “teaching and research” function are included.
  • For the complete data notes, please refer to “Definitions and Notes” for the Department of Education, Skills and Employment, Staff Time Series.

Version history

  • All scissor graphs and tables were first published on this page on 25 May 2021.
  • Prior to 25 May 2021, this page contained scissor graphs of gender distribution by academic discipline in 2014. Please note that the pre-May 2021 graphs were based on a different 2014 data set obtained by request from the Department of Education and Training, and are not identical to the 2014 data nor comparable to the 2019 data shown here.

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