Creating a Balance for Better

A message from the Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Craven.

Balance can mean many things – an even distribution, the act of steadying something, or to compare the value of one item to another. But the definition I’m most interested in is the one characterised by equality, fairness and justice.

While society still has many challenges to overcome in achieving gender equality, I believe it’s important to reflect and to celebrate how far we’ve come and what we have achieved.

International Women’s Day (IWD) affords us the opportunity to stop and reflect on the important issue of gender equality and last week, ACU celebrated IWD by hosting events on several of our campuses.

We heard from some of our inspiring female graduates who are making a significant impact in the world. This year’s IWD focused on ‘Balance for Better’ and follows the premise that by bettering the balance, we can better the world.

At ACU we have a shared commitment and culture that supports an inclusive and equal workplace.  Key to ACU’s mission is ‘dignity of the human person’ and our commitment to gender equality is one of the ways we live this Mission.

Earlier this month, the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) awarded ACU the Employer of Choice for Gender Equality citation for the seventh consecutive year and prior to this ACU was also recognised as an EOWA Employer of Choice for Women in 2011. This latest recognition marks eight years of leadership in gender equality and is strong endorsement of the progress we have made through our Gender Equality Strategy (GES) 2015 – 2020.

There are many ways we have worked together to achieve balance and equity at ACU.

Balance through flexibility

ACU has flexible working arrangements in place that allow our staff to balance the many responsibilities in their lives.

I’m proud that the 2017 myVoice survey showed that flexible working arrangements are supported at ACU, with 77 per cent of staff respondents saying they had access to flexibility to manage their work and caring responsibilities. Similarly, 82 per cent of staff respondents said their supervisor was flexible and reasonable in responding to work/life balance needs.

Our Flexible Working Arrangements Policy supports both women and men in balancing their careers and personal commitments.

Balance for care givers  

When ACU introduced one year of paid maternity leave for women in 2001, it was a groundbreaking move. In 2011, this was extended to male staff who nominated as the primary care giver.

I’m very proud that we were at the forefront of supporting working parents through the introduction of generous parental leave provisions. The number of women and men who accessed parental leave increased by 13 per cent last year.

Through access to flexible working, a free Childcare Referral Service and other support initiatives, we’re also ensuring that parents feel supported when they return to work.

Balance in leadership and representation

ACU continues to see high levels of women in leadership across the University and our governing body has achieved gender parity.

Ensuring balance exists at a leadership level has many positives. Diversity and balance in the perspectives, experiences and expertise we bring to the table is vital for a thriving University.

Achieving balance

As a Pay Equity Ambassador, I’ve committed to undertaking an annual gender pay gap analysis to ensure we are fulfilling the commitments we’ve made in our Gender Equality Strategy.

We’ve achieved much in the area of gender equality but there’s still more to be done at ACU and, of course, in our own communities and in wider society.

We all have a part to play and I encourage you to continue to advocate for equality and to strive for balance.

I, and other leaders across ACU, will continue to do our part to champion gender equality within ACU and more broadly.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Greg Craven AO, GCSG
Vice-Chancellor and President
Australian Catholic University

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