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George Institute recognised for commitment to gender equity

Media release: 
23/09/2019

SYDNEY, SEPT 23 - The George Institute was today announced as one of 13 Australian organisations to receive an Athena SWAN Bronze Institution Award for its work in advancing gender equity and diversity as part of the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) initiative. 

Established in 2015, SAGE is a partnership between the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering and is the only transformative gender equity program of its kind in Australia in the science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM) disciplines in higher education and research. 
Erika Burmeister, Director, Global Human Resources at the George Institute for Global Health commented:

“We’re delighted to have achieved this accreditation in recognition of our commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive culture.” 
“Women currently represent over two-thirds of our current workforce and we also recently reached 54 percent female representation on our Board - over twice that of the Australian corporate average.” 


The George Institute for Global Health was co-founded by Professor Robyn Norton with Professor Stephen MacMahon in Sydney in 1999 in order to combat the growing epidemic of noncommunicable diseases, including, but not limited to stroke, heart disease and injury. Since then, the Institute has expanded from a handful of people in Sydney to over 700 people across four major centres in Australia, China, India and the UK and was last year recognised as the top independent research organisation in Australia by The Times Higher Education. 


“There is no one silver bullet to creating a diverse and inclusive environment,” added Ms Burmeister.   
“It’s about constantly and proactively delivering programs and reviewing processes to continuously improve the environment for all our people.  That’s what The George has done since our founding 20 years ago.” 


The Athena SWAN Bronze Award process includes a two-year data analysis and gender action planning project, requiring institutions to recognise and address challenges around gender equity and inclusive culture. 


Australian Academy of Science Chief Executive, Anna-Maria Arabia commented: “I congratulate the Bronze accredited organisations for challenging themselves and the culture of their organisations using the Athena Swan Framework. I am thrilled that further Government funding is enabling SAGE to be adopted by more higher education and research institutions enabling sector-wide improvements to gender diversity and inclusion.” 


 The Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) initiative was established to pilot the UK’s Athena SWAN Charter in Australia. Building on the success of the UK Athena Swan Charter, SAGE is adapting its accreditation framework for use in Australia in the STEMM Higher Education and Research sector. 

Athena SWAN is a successful enabling mechanism for gender equity, providing a framework in which to plan and undertake concrete work to create structural and cultural change for gender equality. It addresses system and structural barriers, as well as culture that hinder participation and advancement of women and minority groups in organisations – making it an effective enabling mechanism for transformational change. 

The George Institute for Global Health  
The George Institute for Global Health conducts clinical, population and health system research aimed at changing health practice and policy worldwide. Established in Australia and affiliated with UNSW Sydney, it also has offices in China, India and the UK, and is affiliated with the University of Oxford.