Griffith is first Queensland university to achieve SAGE Cygnet award

Griffith University is the first Queensland University to achieve a Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) Cygnet Award, in recognition of Griffith’s achievements in reducing barriers for people of diverse gender, bodies and sexuality (DGBS/LGBTQIA+).

Having established the groundwork towards transformational change in 2018, Griffith was among the first Australian institutions to receive a SAGE Athena Swan Bronze Institutional Award.

Griffith Vice Chancellor and President Professor Carolyn Evans.

The Cygnet Award is the next step in the Athena Swan Charter framework, an evaluation and accreditation program enhancing gender equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Griffith Vice Chancellor and President Professor Carolyn Evans said Griffith is challenging the structural, systemic, and cultural barriers toward gender equity and diversity and inclusion.

“We are proud to receive the SAGE Cygnet Award and have put in place several initiatives to improve the experiences of LGBTQIA+ staff and students over the past few years,” Professor Evans said.

“As a values-based university, this award recognises Griffith’s ability to assess and remedy barriers to inclusion in the workplace and ability to sustain positive change.

“Griffith staff and senior leadership are committed to ensuring all staff and students including LGBTQIA+ people feel safe and supported at work.”

SAGE CEO Janin Bredehoeft.

SAGE CEO Dr Janin Bredehoeft said this is a wonderful achievement.

“It’s not possible to work towards gender equity without engaging deeply in making our workplaces LGBTQIA+ safe and inclusive, and Griffith has shown a real commitment to that goal,” Dr Bredehoeft said.

“By reflecting honestly on the challenges they faced and implementing data-driven Athena Swan Action Plan, Griffith was able to demonstrate a reduction in barriers to equity for LGBTQIA+ people in their institution.”

Research Grants Officer and Griffith Pride Committee Member Dr Alison Wright said her positive experience studying at Griffith influenced her decision to actively seek employment at the university after postdoctoral studies in Germany.

Research Grants Officer and Griffith Pride Committee Member Dr Alison Wright Dr Alison.

“As a transgender woman I’ve had the unique experience of seeing the academic world through the lens of both a woman and an individual of the trans community,” Dr Wright said.

“I attribute a large part of my success as an academic throughout my PhD to the supportive environment established here at Griffith University and believe I wouldn’t have been able to complete my degree without it.

“With strong female leadership and an LGBTQIA+ inclusive network I was never left wanting for role models.

“The real measure of an equitable workplace is to empower the individual, and this is something Griffith does exceptionally well.”

Diversity and Inclusion Partner and Pride Committee Co-chair Hannah Chong .

Diversity and Inclusion Partner and Pride Committee Co-chair Hannah Chong said the achievement of the SAGE Cygnet Award showcases Griffith’s commitment to its people, values and the work that has gone into LGBTQIA+ inclusion at the University.

“My thanks goes to the teams across the university who’ve been involved with this inclusion work and the people who drove the action,” Ms Chong said.

“This is the result of years of work for many people and couldn’t have been done without everyone’s enthusiasm, understanding and passion for the work.

“There’s still work to be done but this award shows we’re up to the challenge and are serious about our values and commitment to LGBTQIA+ inclusion.”

Griffith’s commitment to DGBS/LGBTQIA+ inclusion has yielded many examples of excellence including:

  • An increase in LGBTQIA+ resources and development offerings for staff and students
  • Removal of identified system and process barriers including removing the requirement to provide legal documents to update gender, prefixes or chosen name in staff and student systems; and ensuring chosen name is displayed rather than fields associated with legal name in more than160 systems
  • An increase in visibility through the installation of Progress Pride Flag crossings and stairs across campuses; Pride logo, image collection and branding; and increased engagement on social media
  • Adding the option to add pronouns to Teams/Outlook Web profile cards and in email signature templates
  • An increase in external engagement including Pride Committee members featuring at several events such as Queer Stories; Beyond the ‘L’: the Differences in Workplace Experiences of LGBTQ Women; Queers in STEM; Gold Coast Health Pride Festival and IDAHOBIT panel at Robina State High School.

Key achievements include:

  • Griffith’s score for Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI), a national benchmarking framework on LGBTQIA+ inclusion, increased by 344 per cent since 2017. We also progressed from ‘Participation’ to ‘Silver Tier’ which indicates improved standing compared to benchmarked institutions
  • An increase in the number of LGBTQIA+ Allies by 334 per cent since 2019
  • An average improvement of 21 per cent in the engagement survey results from non-binary staff between 2021 and 2022. This resulted in a closing of the engagement gap between non-binary staff and other LGBTQIA+ staff
  • Improved experiences of respect from LGBTQIA+ staff compared to 2017.

You can read Griffith’s SAGE Cygnet Award submission on the SAGE website.