Gender Inclusive Membership of University Committees Policy

Document Number000780
Date Approved17 June 2008
Date Last Amended21 February 2012


1.      Introduction        

This policy reflects the University’s commitment to values of equity and diversity and the intent of its Institutional Strategic Plan and Affirmative Action Plan to enhance the participation of women on staff and in decision-making roles.

The appropriate representation of women in particular, on the University's committees supports the elimination of structural and attitudinal barriers to women in the workplace required under the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act 1999. Gender-inclusive membership of committees ensures that decision-making is informed and enriched by the diversity of the decision-makers.

2.      Policy Intent

To achieve gender balance on University committees.

3.      Policy

3.1.     University committees shall have a membership that is gender inclusive.

3.2.     All committees must have a membership of no less than 33% of each gender. This includes all University-wide decision-making committees, including selection and promotion committees, and “local” (i.e. Faculty and Division committees), sub-committees and review committees.

3.3.     If an exemption or variation to the gender representation on a committee is sought, the request should be made in writing to the Manager, Equity & Diversity in the first instance.

3.4.     Strategies to achieve appropriate gender representation may include:

-    co-opting senior professional staff members to committees where appropriate when the proportion of senior academic women or men is low

-     appointing or co-opting suitably qualified people from inside or outside the University;

-     appointing a senior lecturer when a member of the professoriate is called for;

-     providing for ex-officio members (particularly Chairs) to be represented by a nominee who will be a member of the minority sex;

-     changing the terms of reference to limit ex-officio numbers and to broaden eligibility to include more junior members of staff;

-     using the Universities Australia Women’s Register or seeking advice from the Manager, Equity & Diversity ;

-     providing encouragement and support to women where election is involved

3.5.     Convenors or Chairs of committees are accountable for ensuring appropriate gender representation.

3.6.     Where the electorate of the committee is of one gender and appropriate representation of the other gender is difficult, the Convenor of the committee will take steps to achieve representation as close as possible to 33% with a view to increasing this representation in the longer term.

3.7.     The Director, Affirmative Action will request the Convenor or Chair to report annually to the Manager, Equity & Diversity when gender balance has not been achieved on a committee, and will indicate what steps will be taken to achieve the 33% representation set by this policy.

3.8.     The Manager, Equity & Diversity will work with Governance and Policy, Human Resources, Faculties and Divisions, Convenors and Chairs as appropriate, to collect data on committee membership and forward to the Director, Affirmative Action by mid-April each year. The Equity and Diversity Unit will monitor and report on compliance in Annual Reports to EOWA (sector wide) and to OEED (NSW only).

4.      Essential Supporting Documents

Affirmative Action and Equal Employment Opportunity Policy 000252

5.      Related Documents

Diversity and Inclusiveness Policy 000751

Approval AuthorityVice-Chancellor
Date Approved17 June 2008
Date Last Amended21 February 2012
Policy SponsorDeputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)
Policy OwnerManager, Equity and Diversity
Policy ContactManager, Equity and Diversity
Amendment History

Minor amendment to change Policy Sponsor to Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) to reflect structural changes from 1 January 2013, The Secretariat, 14 August 2013.

Change in terminology from "general" to "professional" staff, approved by the Vice-Chancellor 21 February 2012, effective 1 January 2012.

Approved 1999; revised June 17 2008.