Swinburne University of Technology has achieved its first SAGE Cygnet Award in recognition of the improvements they made to women’s academic promotion application and success rates.

Driving outcomes and impact

Some notable outcomes of their interventions include:

  • 73 per cent of academic women who participated in the “SWAN” promotions program achieved successful promotion outcomes
  • The average number of successful applications from women increased by 37 per cent (from 16.7 average number of successful applications for the period from 2009–2014, to 26.5 average number of successful applications for the period from 2015–2022)
  • Applicants who included a Performance Relative to Opportunity (PTRO) statement in their application were equally or more successful than those who did not use PTRO –  demonstrating that this is producing equitable outcomes
  • There was no detrimental impact of part-time status when applying for academic promotion in 2022.

Dedicated to systemic change

Professor Karen Hapgood, Swinburne’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and SAGE Athena Swan Lead and Gender Equity Champion, said achieving the Cygnet Award reaffirms Swinburne’s dedication to advancing gender equity in academic promotion.

“This SAGE Cygnet Award reflects our commitment to career progression by women, as championed by the Swinburne Women’s Academic Network,” Professor Karen Hapgood says.

“The award demonstrates how we’re systematically removing barriers for academics to receive promotion at Swinburne, creating long-lasting changes that benefit researchers of all genders and career stages”.

Swinburne Women’s Academic Network

The initiatives recognised by the Cygnet Award were led by Swinburne Women’s Academic Network, which was established in 2015 to address the under-representation of women in senior academic and professional positions at Swinburne. The Network assists women at any stage of their academic career to develop their leadership capacity and achieve career progression.

The Swinburne Women’s Academic Network’s submission was coordinated by members Dr Catherine Orr, Professor Helana Scheepers, Associate Professor Mahnaz Shafiei, Associate Professor Christine Agius, Dr Carolyn Beasley ,and Jacqui Olney, Diversity Equity and Inclusion.

Ongoing progress

The Award affirms Swinburne’s commitment to improving the attraction, promotion and retention of women and gender diverse people in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM), enabled by its SAGE Action Plan 2022-25.

It builds on Swinburne’s Athena Swan Bronze Award in 2018, and reflects progress against priorities in the university’s original SAGE Action Plan 2019-21, as well as the current SAGE Action Plan 2022-25.

Read their full application here.