The purpose of SAGE Ltd is to accredit and grant awards to Higher Education and Research (HER) institutions for gender equity, diversity and inclusion programs. Specifically, SAGE:
- Administers under licence Athena SWAN Charter and Awards in Australia and accredit and grant awards to HER sector for advancement of gender equity, diversity and inclusion,
- Raises awareness of the value of gender equity, diversity and inclusion broadly, and
- Collaborates with institutions across the higher education and research sector and government nationally and internationally on promotion of Australia’s gender equity, diversity and inclusion efforts and achievement
Evaluation and reviews
SAGE is modelled on the UK’s – Athena SWAN Charter. A recently published independent review of Athena SWAN found that it is effective because of two factors: the accountability at an institutional level; and the tools it gives departments to implement real structural and cultural changes.
While the report is focused on the UK’s scheme, SAGE has already made changes identified in the report’s recommendations as part of the Australian pilot. These include support for applicants and enhancements to the assessment process.
SAGE success and the effectiveness of Athena SWAN in Australia was evidenced in the independent evaluation report on the introduction of Athena SWAN into Australia, ‘Putting Gender on your Agenda’;, SAGE has implemented learnings and recommendations from this evaluation.
A review of international activities and initiatives in gender equity, together with a national workshop resulted in the decision to pilot the Athena SWAN accreditation framework from the Equality Challenge Unit (a unit of Advance HE) in the UK. The decision to pilot Athena SWAN recognises the framework’s evidence-based approach to analysis, action and demonstrable impact. Monitoring of performance and impact is integral to the accreditation process and conferral of Awards.
National rollout and the future of SAGE
In 2020, SAGE is transitioning to an independent entity (not-for-profit) company, SAGE Ltd, founded by the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering, by end of 2020 with its own governing Board of Directors and an independent Chair.
With the Federal Government’s further $1.8 million investment in the program, SAGE’s goal is to reach the entire higher education and research STEMM sector.
Government funding has also allowed SAGE to refine program subscription fees to increase accessibility and attract new subscribers to the program.