SCU is employer of choice for women

SOUTHERN Cross University has been named as a 2009 Employer of Choice for Women by the Federal Government's Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency (EOWA).

The Employer of Choice for Women citation, announced on March 18, is an acknowledgment by EOWA of organisations around the country that are recognising and advancing women in the workplace.

A total of 111 organisations, in industries ranging from health and education to manufacturing, have been included on this year's list.

Employers have to meet strict criteria each year including offering a minimum of six weeks paid maternity leave after 12 months of service; providing the ability for female managers to work part-time; ensuring the percentage of female managers is the same or greater than 28 per cent or the industry average; and ensuring a pay equity analysis has been undertaken.

The acting director of EOWA, Mairi Steele, said the list of Employers of Choice provided women with a guide to organisations showing a real commitment to creating fair workplaces and to achieving genuine results for working women.

“Employers work hard to get on this list because despite the economic downturn, many are acutely aware of the need to attract and retain women for sustainability in the long term,” Ms Steele said.

Rachel Callahan, the manager of Southern Cross University's Equity Services, said she was delighted the University had received this recognition.

“We have developed a number of initiatives which are designed to assist professional development for female academic and general staff. This citation is a great acknowledgement of the work the University is doing to increase the representation of women at senior management level and in providing support for the development of their careers,” Ms Callahan said.

The Development Program for Women includes a mentoring program, established in 2008, for academic and professional women staff.

The program assists women in setting career and development goals, identifying career opportunities and development management skills.

Equity Services and Human Resource Services have also established a networking forum, with opportunities for guest speakers and presentations.

It also hosts research workshops and promotions workshops for academic staff.

Dr Kath Fisher, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, runs research workshops for women staff and has been involved in the mentoring program.

“I can honestly say that everything I have learnt about being an academic - whether it is teaching, researching or supervising - I have learnt from mentors at SCU, all of them generous people, women and men who have gladly given their time and wisdom for my personal and professional benefit,” Dr Fisher said.

“Such collegial relationships continue to be the most satisfying and rewarding aspects of my university life.”

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