There are two submission rounds this year for Athena Swan Awards and three for Cygnet Awards.

It takes time to train and assemble reviewers, so please give us at least 4 weeks’ notice before submitting an application.

Award type Submission dates Deadline for notifying intent to submit How to notify intent to submit
Athena Swan Bronze and Silver Awards

Bronze Award renewals

31 March 2024 3 March 2024 Complete the Athena Swan intention to submit form.
30 September 2024 2 September 2024
Cygnet Awards 28 February 2024 1 February 2024 Complete the Cygnet intention to submit form.
30 June 2024 2 June 2024
31 October 2024 3 October 2024

Up till now, each Cygnet Award application was assessed by a group of 4 to 5 reviewers from the SAGE reviewer pool.

From February 2024, Cygnet Award applications will be assessed in-house by evaluation expert Dr Isabelle Kingsley. To continue providing independent oversight and learning opportunities for the sector, in-house assessments will require endorsement from an independent reviewer drawn from the SAGE reviewer pool.

We’ve outlined the process in the flowchart below.

Flowchart of Cygnet review process and target timeframes. The institution submits the application as a first-time submission or following a required revision. Then, the SAGE in-house reviewer assesses the application. If the application does not meet criteria, SAGE requests the institution to revise the application. If the application meets criteria, the independent reviewer reads the application and SAGE's in-house assessment. If the application satisfies the criteria, the independent reviewer will endorse the in-house assessment, and the SAGE CEO approves the award. If the independent reviewer rejects the in-house assessment, the independent reviewer and SAGE reviewer will discuss if and what changes are required to meet criteria. If after this meeting, the independent reviewer decides to endorse the in-house assessment, the SAGE CEO approves the award. If the independent reviewer still rejects the in-house assessment, SAGE will request the institution to revision the application.

The new process, which has been endorsed by the Athena Swan Australia Advisory Committee, addresses the SAGE network’s requests for:

  • More consistency in reviews – all applications are reviewed by the same person
  • A developmental process – SAGE will work with you to refine your application until it meets the criteria
  • Reduced burden on volunteers – only one independent assessor required per application

The assessment criteria will stay the same. Learn about the new process in detail in the updated Cygnet Awards Assessment Guide.

Athena Swan Awards will still be assessed by a group of independent peer reviewers.

Applying for a Silver Award

Once you’ve achieved 5 Cygnet Awards, your organisation is eligible to apply for an Athena Swan Silver Award.

Please note that 5 Cygnet Awards do not automatically equate to a Silver Award. You need to prepare a separate Silver Award application that outlines the key barriers your organisation will address over the next 7 years.

The Silver Award application form can be found on the forms and guidance page.

Let us help you with your application

You can contact the SAGE team anytime for one-on-one advice on your application. We can help you choose your Key Barriers, understand the award criteria, map out what data you’ll need, and give feedback on your draft application.

Not ready to submit this year?

That’s absolutely fine – you can submit next year instead. The submission dates are the same every year.

Just remember that Bronze Awards are only valid for 7 years. You’ll need to renew your Bronze Award or apply for a Silver Award in or before the submission round immediately after your Bronze Award expires.

If you’re not sure when that happens, get in touch and we’ll confirm the date for you.

Get involved – become a SAGE reviewer

Interested in reviewing Cygnet or Silver Award applications? We’re always on the lookout for people to join the SAGE reviewer pool. It’s a great way to help raise the standard of equity, diversity and inclusion in the sector.

If you have experience in any of the following areas, we’d love for you to submit an expression of interest.

  • Workplace equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI)
  • Organisational change
  • Outcomes and impact assessment
  • Quantitative or qualitative data analytics
  • Institutional governance in the tertiary education and research sector
  • Institutional and/or professional accreditation

Here are just some examples of people who would make good reviewers:

  • HR or EDI practitioners
  • Professional staff who work in areas like social justice, respect, safety and belonging
  • Members of staff EDI networks or committees
  • Academics who study gender equity, diversity and inclusion
  • Qualitative researchers

Some Cygnet Award applications focus on removing barriers for specific groups, such as Indigenous people and LGBTQIA+ staff. Where possible, we assign these to reviewers who have relevant lived experience. We especially encourage expressions of interest from the following groups who are currently underrepresented in our pool:

  • Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people
  • Members of the LGBTQIA+ community, including trans and gender diverse people
  • People with disability
  • People from culturally or racially marginalised backgrounds

While many reviewers find the experience fulfilling on a professional and personal level, it’s still work and there’s plenty to go around. If you’re a member of a privileged group, you can share the load by becoming a reviewer.

Useful links