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The Australian National University

2014 Gender Champions

The International Women’s Day celebration at ANU took place on March 7th and the annual Gender Champion Awards were made.

The Awards aim to recognise those at ANU who, above and beyond the normal expectations of their professional role, have contributed to at least one of the following areas:

  • raising the profile of women and/or speaking out for women's issues,
  • acting as mentors or coaching women at ANU,
  • supporting our post graduate women to achieve their aspirations,
  • And finally, those who are quiet achievers –for the women at ANU working behind the scenes to make sure others can shine.


This year's awards went to:

Professor Emily Banks, nominated by 6 of her female colleagues from the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health.

Emily Banks is nominated not only as a successful epidemiologist, but as an excellent role model for professional women, including those who are developing their career while also raising a family. She is a NHMRC Senior Research Fellow, Scientific Director of the 45 and Up Study at the Sax Institute in Sydney and Head of Chronic Disease Epidemiology at the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health.

Her research and advocacy for women’s health is internationally recognized at the highest levels. She has supervised and mentored many PhD students, including at least 10 women. And she has spoken out in meetings and forums on the relative disadvantage women face when applying for major research funding, particularly arguing that that the method for assessing career disruption is flawed.

Emily was unable to attend, as she was chairing a ministerial committee all day. She was awarded in her absence.

Professor Margaret Jolly, nominated by 10 Members and affiliates of the ARC Laureate Fellowship Project she leads, and also by a former student.

Margaret Jolly is an ARC Laureate Fellow and Professor in Anthropology, Gender and Cultural Studies and Pacific Studies.  She was the Head of the Gender Relations Project/Centre in RSPAS at ANU from 1992-2009, and a founding member of the Gender Institute, where she continues to contribute above and beyond the call of duty to the management committee.

Her nominators cite her foundational and sustained commitment to gender scholarship and gender equity at the ANU, her consummate and substantial contribution to gender theory throughout her distinguished academic career, and her intellectual and pragmatic leadership in ensuring that gender scholarship remains a focal strength at ANU.

Besides her own extraordinary contributions to gender scholarship, Margaret fosters an environment of equity principles put into practice. She has been a champion for promoting young Pacific Island students, both women and men, at the ANU.As a mentor and supervisor, she is inspiring, encouraging, and affable. A truly generous spirit, she has nurtured many students and early career researchers representing diverse backgrounds, skills, and research interests, while supporting a strong sense of collective endeavour and shared purpose.

Dr Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt, Senior Fellow, in the Resource Environment and Development Group at the Crawford School of Public Policy was nominated twice. Both came from men who have been strongly influenced as students by her work and teaching on gender.

One writes:

“Kuntala challenged my long-standing beliefs about gender roles… in a way that drove me to explore the role of women in Defense in much greater depth... Kuntala has broadened my knowledge of this area but beyond this she has given me the confidence to challenge my own long standing beliefs.”

This endorsement is echoed in the second nomination from another Masters student. He writes -

it has remained a challenge for academia to make the knowledge and critical analyses of gender inequalities accessible to all students, particularly those who bring diverse experiential backgrounds, perhaps. I (like many other students) am grateful to Kuntala for designing and facilitating a wonderful and inclusive gender course where the… critical issues around gender and development are presented from a wide variety of social and cultural contexts. Many stories of personal, family and community struggles for gender equality unfolded within our classrooms…Kuntala inspires each student to turn into gender champions on their own volition, filling them with optimism, and enabled and equipped… to act as agents of change to make our work more gender-just, fairer and inclusive for women.

Associate Professor Fiona Yap, from the Crawford School of Public Policy, was nominated by 6 of her colleagues for her efforts, best characterized as “behind the scenes,” to:

  1. raise the issue of gender equity at Crawford;
  2. emphasize the need for mentoring of women faculty and researchers at Crawford;
  3. provide a forum for mentoring women at Crawford, particularly in the areas of career development strategies and work-life balance, as well as to address diversity, equity, and access concerns, and to
  4. provide evidentiary support to buttress strategic plans pursued at Crawford and in CAP on gender equity  – through the catalogue she is creating  comprising research findings, discussions in academe, and media-releases by–

She convenes a working group for women researchers and faculty at Crawford.

As a member of the 2013-2014 recruitment committee for two positions at the Policy and Governance group at Crawford, Fiona facilitated a short-list comprising equal gender mix (three women and three-men), which is a remarkable feat in the policy discipline.





ANU, Gender Institute

Date posted

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Event type

Awards ceremony

Updated:  7 November 2012/Responsible Officer:  Convenor, Gender Institute/Page Contact:  Web manager, Gender Institute