VC's Update - International Women's Day

07 Mar 2019

Hi everyone,

I just love walking around Kambri - there are so many people around and so much happening - 10 bands playing this week alone.  As everyone settles into the new semester, this week has been one that is featuring activities and programs recognising the contribution of women - not just to ANU, but to our broader society.

As many of you know, we have been experiencing some teething issues with Kambri in some of the teaching spaces. It is no small feat to raise an entire precinct from the ground in 18 months - so please be patient, knowing we are working as hard as we can to address them. Please report any building difficulties to and any IT/VC issues to the ITS Service Desk on x54321 or as our teams are working to address these disruptions.

This week also saw the launch of the Admissions, Scholarships and Accommodation (ASA) platform. Future students can apply now! The new Admissions model will create a pathway to attract undergraduate students from the whole of Australia, from a wide variety of backgrounds. We want to make ANU unique by selecting students who represent all parts of Australia - but we still have some way to go before we truly represent our nation. As part of bringing more students to ANU from different backgrounds, we are looking for Ambassadors who come from all over Australia to be part of sharing our story with people from their hometown or region. If you are from regional or rural Australia (think anywhere outside of Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth), and would like to help us represent ANU, please let us know by emailing

As I mentioned, this week is also a celebration of women and we have held an array of events and activities to showcase their contributions to our campus. It has been exactly one year since we introduced a new parental leave scheme in 2018, allowing primary carers to take up to 26 weeks of paid leave, which more than 18 staff have accessed, and more than 250 staff have spoken to HR about. I encourage our campus parents to look into this policy with your local HR team and remember that, although it is great to hear about the policy from co-workers, it is very important you receive official advice to ensure you understand your entitlements.

Increasing paid parental leave is important to creating greater flexibility for families, but we also need to keep chipping away at other areas of inequality such as superannuation. We know that women typically spend more time away from the workforce and, on average, retire with 46.6% less superannuation than men. This is something we can change - and we must change if want our campus to be a place of inclusivity and equality. And so, I am delighted to announce that the Senior Management Group has endorsed changes to employer superannuation contributions during periods of unpaid parental leave. This new policy will see the introduction of a new initiative to pay a maximum of 26 weeks employer superannuation contributions to any staff member taking unpaid parental leave. It's a little contribution now that compounds to make a big difference in the end. I encourage you to speak with the parental leave team on about this new initiative.

I am also delighted to welcome Dr Sam Mostyn to give the 2019 International Women's Day Lecture tomorrow. Dr Mostyn received an Honorary Doctorate from ANU in 2018 for her contribution to the advancement of gender inclusion and leadership in sustainability and climate change. I encourage everyone to attend an event this week, or read some of the inspiring stories from our campus.

On Wednesday, I was able to help Frances Adamson (Secretary of DFAT) launch Mentor Walks where female leaders from government, industry and academia came together to walk with mentees. There were some amazing leaders there. I have been very fortunate in my career to have some wonderful mentors, who have been a source of reflection and advice, which I continue to rely on to this day. This is a great initiative to support women across campus.

Of course, at ANU we also have our NECTAR Mentoring Program which supports early career academics to navigate research and academia. This is an ANU-run program, designed by, and for, our staff. Applications are currently open for Mentors to get involved and I encourage you to do so. For more information, please contact as applications close Sunday 17 March.

I look forward to seeing you at the IWD Lecture tomorrow,