Skip to main content

Curtin Institute of Radio Astronomy awarded for gender advancement

Media release

The Curtin Institute of Radio Astronomy (CIRA) has received a Silver Pleiades Award from the Astronomical Society of Australia in recognition of its commitment to advancing women in astronomy, including through its support of the Athena SWAN Charter.

The Murchison Widefield Array at night
Image: John Goldsmith

Curtin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry congratulated CIRA on receiving the award for its continued commitment to eliminating gender bias and fostering an inclusive culture that values all staff.

“Curtin is proud to have developed the 2018-2021 Curtin Athena SWAN Action Plan, which aims to retain and support excellent female academics in the STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine) disciplines,” Professor Terry said.

“The Silver Pleiades Award is recognition of Curtin’s determination to increase the diversity of the University’s academic workforce, advance the careers of female academics in the STEMM disciplines, and to increase the number of female academics in leadership positions.”

CIRA Early Career Researcher Dr Gemma Anderson said the Pleiades Award was recognition of the efforts of a committee comprised of academic staff, professional staff and students who lead, monitor, encourage and coordinate initiatives towards improving inclusion, diversity and equity within the institute.

“CIRA’s committee is called the Development Committee, or DevCom, which for over two-years has been striving to improve the working environment while demonstrating leadership in promoting best practices and acting as an example to the astronomical community,” Dr Anderson said.

CIRA Executive Director John Curtin Distinguished Professor Steven Tingay said promoting the values and objectives of the Athena SWAN Charter would continue to be a major focus for CIRA going forward.

“In achieving this level of award, we worked closely with the Curtin Athena SWAN team to provide informed and effective initiatives and activities that focused on recognising the contributions of under-represented groups, breaking down unconscious bias, and providing personal and professional development opportunities,” Professor Tingay said.

“CIRA was specifically commended by the Astronomical Society of Australia for its ambitious and impressive program for improving gender equity and inclusiveness, as well as its concern for mental health.

“The Silver Pleiades Award recognises the considerable efforts and ongoing commitment of both the Curtin Institute of Radio Astronomy and Curtin University to achieving inclusion, diversity and equity in astronomy.”

More information about CIRA can be found here and further details of the Pleiades Awards are available here.