Athena Swan is an accreditation and awards program for gender equity, diversity and inclusion. Organisations around the world choose to participate in Athena Swan because:
- It is the only internationally recognised framework for gender equity, diversity and inclusion.
- Athena Swan’s evidence-based and data-driven approach is trusted by leaders, practitioners, researchers and the community.
- It lets organisations benchmark their work in gender equity, diversity and inclusion against an international standard.
SAGE is the only organisation that administers the Athena Swan framework in Australia. We have worked closely with the sector since 2015 to deliver an accreditation pathway that’s tailored to our national context.
The SAGE accreditation pathway
Commit to the journey
When an institution becomes a SAGE subscriber, its senior leaders must make a commitment to:
- Ensure that gender equity, diversity and inclusion work is appropriately resourced, distributed, recognised, and rewarded.
- Undertake transparent and rigorous self-assessment processes, analysing institutional structures, systems, and cultures to identify the barriers to attraction, retention and progression for staff and students, and thus to gender equity, diversity and inclusion.
- Design initiatives based on institutional data, and national and global evidence of best practice.
- Monitor, evaluate, and publicly report on progress made, challenges experienced, and impact achieved, to inform continuous improvement.
- Actively incorporate Indigenous knowledges and perspectives to address the specific inequities and injustices experienced by Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander staff and students.
- Consciously consider all genders, recognising that gender is not binary, and that trans and gender diverse people face specific inequities because of their gender identities.
- Take an intersectional approach to advancing gender equity, diversity and inclusion, recognising that people of any particular identity are not a homogeneous group.
- Engage with those most impacted by inequitable practice to proactively redesign and reshape structures, systems and culture.
- Increase the safety and wellbeing of staff and students by proactively and transparently preventing and responding to bullying, harassment, sexual harassment, gender-based violence and discrimination.
- Embed change in institutional governance and accountability structures; actively and visibly champion and promote gender equity, diversity and inclusion in our Institutions, the Athena Swan community, and across the sector; and hold ourselves and other senior leaders accountable for driving sustainable transformational change.
From the time they join SAGE, institutions have 2 years to apply for an Athena Swan Bronze Award.
Athena Swan Bronze Award
Lay your foundation
Designed for new subscribers, the Athena Swan Bronze Award is the first level of SAGE accreditation. Applying for a Bronze Award is a rewarding process that helps institutions establish a solid foundation to drive transformational change in the years to come.
The Bronze self-assessment and application process guides institutions to:
- understand the current state of gender equity, diversity and inclusion in the organisation
- understand the structural, systemic and cultural Barriers that impede attraction, retention and progression, and which thus contribute to inequity and a lack of diversity and inclusion
- create an Action Plan to remove or reduce five Key Barriers
The Bronze Award is valid for 7 years.
SAGE Cygnet Awards
Achieve progress and impact
The SAGE Cygnet Awards provide a structured for institutions to reflect on how well their Bronze Action Plan has worked, and—equally important—help others learn from their achievements.
In the seven years after achieving from their Bronze Award, institutions implement the actions designed to remove or reduce the five Key Barriers to attraction, retention or progression.
For each Key Barrier, they apply for a SAGE Cygnet Award, which involves reporting:
- their progress in implementing actions that are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound)
- the outcomes and impact of those actions
- their learnings from any areas in which the desired progress, outcomes and impact was not achieved
- any further actions they will take to achieve or sustain the desired progress, outcomes and impact
Athena Swan Silver Award
Set new goals
Once an institution has achieved five Cygnet Awards (one for each Key Barrier), they may apply for an Athena Swan Silver Award. The Silver Award provides an opportunity for institutions to re-evaluate their position and plan their next steps.
The Silver self-assessment and application process guides institutions to identify persistent barriers and sustain positive change. Specifically, institutions will take steps to:
- understand the current state of gender equity, diversity and inclusion in the organisation, following the actions undertaken to date
- understand the key structural, systemic and cultural barriers that continue to impede attraction, retention and progression, and which thus contribute to persistent inequity and a continued lack of diversity and inclusion
- create an Action Plan to remove or reduce five (new or continuing) Key Barriers and embed sustainable change
In combination with the Cygnet Awards, the Athena Swan Silver Award recognises and rewards organisational maturity in gender equity, diversity and inclusion.
The Silver Award application process and criteria are still under development. Sign up to our newsletter to hear about upcoming consultations.
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