On International Women's Day, 8 March 2017, I want to re-emphasise the University's commitment to being a national pathfinder on gender equity.
We're doing very well in some respects - half the senior executive members are women, along with more than half the undergraduates and half the PhD students. We are the only university in Australia to have this but we do have a soft middle - and this is where we have to make a greater effort.
Our female staff do amazing work. Last year Associate Professor Vickie Bennett was co-lead investigator on the team that discovered the world's oldest fossils. They revealed diverse life forms emerged on Earth 3.7 billion years ago, at the earliest possible moment they could. This is truly a global, inspirational discovery - I would describe it as one of the most profound discoveries this University has made in many years.
Today is a good time to celebrate these achievements. I look to our female staff for inspiration to help us do better on gender equity.
I see a huge opportunity for this University. We must work towards a 50-50 gender ratio. This journey will help ANU have a point of difference to attract the most amazing people from around the world - it's a win-win situation.
ANU is beginning to make changes in this area. Last year we announced we would participate in the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) pilot program. We have set a goal to win a silver award by 2021 - the national university should be the one to set the agenda for this sector.
I put the call out for everyone - not just females, but males as well - to help achieve our goal, because gender equity is an issue for the entire University community.
Today is a celebration of the successes we've had, but it's also an acknowledgement that we are only a few steps into a journey that will last for many years. My aim is for everyone in the University community to see real change in this area over the next few years - change that inspires you and others to do great things.