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Southern Cross University to lead gender equality program


Jessica Nelson, Southern Cross University media officer
6 February 2019

Southern Cross University will play a lead role in a new national program aimed at driving better gender equality in the higher education sector.

Vice Chancellor Professor Adam Shoemaker said Southern Cross would be one of four universities piloting the initiative aimed at making safer and fairer workplaces for women.

“We will be working with Universities Australia and the not-for profit organisation Our Watch to adapt the Workplace Equality and Respect Standards to the university environment,” Professor Shoemaker said.

“This pilot will help define how these standards can be applied across the higher education sector.’

The Workplace Equality and Respect Standards set out what needs to be done to truly embed equality and respect in any workplace.


The five standards cover: 

• Securing the commitment of leaders and staff 

• Ensuring conditions support gender equality 

• Rejecting sexist and discriminatory culture 

• Supporting staff and stakeholders who experience violence 

• Integrating gender equality into your core business.


“This is another very deliberate step forward towards gender equality at Southern Cross.  We have a strong commitment to the living, breathing reality of respectful relationships—on campus and everywhere we operate—on a daily basis,” Professor Shoemaker said.

Southern Cross University will undertake the pilot over the next 18 months, along with La Trobe, Monash and Western Sydney universities. Southern Cross has about 1000 staff and 14,000 students across three main campuses at Lismore, Coffs Harbour and Gold Coast.

Our Watch is an independent, not-for-profit organisation established by the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments in 2013 – under the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010–2022 – to drive nation-wide change in the cultures, behaviours and power imbalances that lead to violence against women and their children.