About the Gender Institute

ANU Gender Institute Mission Statement 

What We Do, Who We Are

The Gender Institute is a cross-campus ANU institute launched by Dame Quentin Bryce AD, CVO in March 2011 when she was Governor-General of Australia. It has a dual mission: (1) to connect our ongoing work on gender and sexuality in research, education and outreach and (2) to promote innovative research and programs to help redress gendered inequalities at ANU.

Our approach to gender is inclusive and intersectional – embracing women, men, transgender and gender diverse people – and highlighting the profound interaction between gender, sexuality, race, religion, class, age and ability in structures of unequal power within and beyond the University.

(1) We pursue our research and outreach aims through a series of vibrant programs. As well as the involvement of many of our members in large research programs funded externally (e.g. ARC, DFAT) we administer seeding grants which fund a wide range of contexts for knowledge exchange and debate: public lectures, visiting speakers, seminars, master classes, workshops and panels. Each year our largest grant goes to a signature conference which typically draws a very large group of participants nationally and internationally. Our events are advertised in widely read weekly newsletters during semester, newsletters which promote other relevant events in Canberra and across Australia, job, fellowship and internship opportunities and a selection of significant news stories. Hundreds of staff and student members at ANU and about 2000 affiliates beyond receive the newsletter; news is also posted on the website and disseminated through social media. The website includes an archive and reports on past events. We award annual student prizes for the best honours, Masters and PhD theses and the best article published by an HDR student. These are awarded by the Vice-Chancellor in an annual celebratory event.

(2) We also use our funds to promote gender equality research and initiatives at ANU. Past grants have gone to promoting women in the sciences, in the arts, and in promoting family friendly workplaces and greater accessibility for parents, including breastfeeding mothers. We collaborate with other relevant entities on campus, including gender equity and diversity committees in Schools and Colleges, student organisations including PARSA and ANUSA, the Pro-Vice Chancellor University Experience and the Vice-Chancellor’s Office. We also have external collaborations with other universities and partners in both the APRU and IARU global alliances, for example in IARU’s Women and Men in Globalizing Universities program.  

We are partners with the university in ongoing projects like the SAGE Athena Swan initiative and the Respectful Relationships program. We are committed to redressing the gendered inequalities in both STEMM and HASS disciplines and fields at the ANU and promoting more equitable targets. But we see the problems of gender inequality as far broader, complex and more refractory than just redressing the numbers of academic staff at different levels. They derive from unequal and persisting differences of power. They go to the heart of what universities do – creating and disseminating knowledge and engaging diverse publics and impacting on the wider world. Changing gendered inequalities in universities thus also means confronting the gendered nature of knowledge itself, how knowledge is valued and what counts as excellent, innovative and impactful. At ANU persisting gendered inequalities often reveal the deep sedimentation of earlier gendered differences between the erstwhile Institute of Advanced Studies and the Faculties, a division which generated a masculinist research culture. It is crucial that this is not perpetuated in continuing differences in budgetary support.

All of the activity of the ANU Gender Institute is managed by a Convenor, a part-time administrator and a Management Committee which meets several times a year to decide on grants and award prizes and to assist the Convenor with advice on the ongoing management of the Institute. There is also an internal structure whereby ANU members choose a node or nodes closest to their intellectual or professional concerns. Several of these nodes are active in organising reading and writing groups and workshops and conferences. The Institute has recently been collecting the research of all our members since our inception and in 2017-2018 the administrator is compiling an electronic bibliography of their relevant publications and research.


Structure of the Gender Institute

The Gender Institute is not an academic organisational unit; rather, it is a virtual centre composed of thirteen nodes linking Colleges through an integrated governance framework. The current nodes are:

  • Gender and population
  • Gender, literature, performance and the arts
  • Gender, biology and health
  • Gender and history
  • Feminist theory
  • Gender, development and environment
  • Gender, politics and public policy
  • Gender, sexuality and culture
  • Gender, law and human rights
  • Gender and anthropology
  • Gender, business and economics
  • Gender equity and employment
  • Gender in science, maths, engineering and computing (SMEC)

The nodes act as easily identifiable markers for staff and students inside ANU, for the recruitment of undergraduate and graduate students, for the dissemination of research and for outreach to other scholars, government departments, NGOs, international organisations, business corporations and the media. A list of ANU scholars working in each of the nodes can be found on our People page.


Updated:  22 July 2021/Responsible Officer:  Convenor, Gender Institute/Page Contact:  Gender Institute