Equity and Diversity

Equity and Diversity

The Department of Physics and Astronomy maintains an active gender-balanced Equity and Diversity committee with representation from all academic levels, professional staff and research students.

Workplace culture

Our Workplace Culture statement was formally adopted in late 2017:

The Department of Physics and Astronomy pays respect to the original custodians of the land on which Macquarie University resides and to indigenous staff and students who study and work among us.

We embrace Macquarie University's commitment to principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion. We recognise these principles as core to our mission of fostering excellence and increasing impact in our research, teaching and community engagement.

We aim to be welcoming and supportive of all staff and students regardless of gender and sexual identity, ethnic and cultural background, disability, age, family/carer responsibilities, political affiliation, and religious belief. This commitment underlies our approach to recruitment, mentoring, promotion and celebration of success, and extends to all Department members: academic staff, professional staff, students and visitors.

We commit to an ongoing culture of improvement, measuring and reflecting on our progress, active pursuit of internal feedback and external assessment, and promotion of these values within our Department, to the University and in our wider academic community.

Following from this statement we make the following commitments:

  • The Department will take reports of workplace concerns and misbehaviour seriously and will support individuals in dealing with the University's equity and complaint processes.
  • We will institute training resources for staff and postgraduate students in unconscious bias and positive workplace environments.
  • We will develop a Person of Contact system for reporting concerns.
  • We will develop a statement of mutual expectations for our undergraduate students.
  • We will monitor our web pages, social media and seminar series for gender balance and diversity.
  • We will remain informed about best practice in equity and diversity from physical sciences schools and institutions around the world and evolve our processes in response.

Marriage Equality

On September 11, 2017, The Department officially adopted a position in favour of marriage equality in Australia endorsing the following statement:Australia Marriage Equality logo

The Department of Physics and Astronomy at Macquarie University supports equality under the law in all circumstances. This includes the right of any adult and their consenting adult partner to have their relationship recognized equally under Australian law, regardless of gender.


The Department has been awarded Bronze status in the Pleiades Awards which recognise workplaces in Australian astronomy and physics encouraging full participation of women at all levels of professional life through the implementation of gender-friendly practices. Our 2016 application is available here.

Resources and Support

Macquarie University provides comprehensive support for students and staff in the areas of general wellbeing, mental health and welfare, and is committed to equity, diversity and inclusion in all aspects of education and employment.
Students: Wellbeing support and advice;  Indigenous students cultural and career support, and student spaces through Walanga Muru; support for our international students
Staff: Wellbeing support and advice; Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for confidential counselling and coaching; cultural support for Indigenous staff through Walanga Muru; diversity and community at MQ; accessibility support

MQ supports White Ribbon Day in advocating against and supporting those affected by domestic and family violence, and the Respect.Now.Always initiative at MQ supports a commitment to prevent and respond to sexual assault and harassment across the campus, to build a culture of safety and respect for all. The MQ Equity and Diversity unit coordinates a strong Ally Network which supports a positive and safe workplace for LGBTIQ+ staff and students - local contacts are listed in the following section.

Australian Human Rights Commission provide a range of guidelines and practical resources  designed to help promote diversity and prevent discrimination in your workplace

beyondblue provides information and support to help everyone in Australia achieve their best possible mental health, whatever their age and wherever they live

Diversity Council Australia is an independent not-for-profit organisation leading workplace diversity programs and may be a useful resource for addressing matters of diversity and inclusion in your team or research centre

headspace National Youth Mental Health Foundation provide support to young adults with early intervention mental health services, and promote young people’s wellbeing

indigenous.gov.au can connect you with policies and programs supporting Indigenous safety, wellbeing and culture

National LGBTI Health Alliance recognises that people’s genders, bodies, relationships, and sexualities affect their health and wellbeing in every domain of their life. They offer a range of resources, contacts and a knowledge hub.

Turing Circle support equity and diversity, and provide a safe space for LGBTIQ+ science and engineering professionals and students in Australia.

Acknowledgement of Country: Staff and students are encouraged to include an Acknowledgement of Country in the program agenda for small events and committee meetings. This is an acknowledgement given by the event lead that recognises and pays respect to the traditional people of the Macquarie University land. A brief explanation and example wording can be found in the attached > pdf document. If you are unsure about how to proceed or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact a member of the leadership within the department, or contact Walanga Muru directly.

Suggested Reading: If you're interested to read more about gender equality (and inequality) in the field of physics or science more broadly, and to discover strategies in place within those communities we recommend the following as good places to start: The AIP decadal plan; American physical society resources; ABC news article from Mar 2018; LGBT+ Inclusivity in Physics and Astronomy: A Best Practices Guide (2nd edition, Apr 2018); Testosterone Rex or The Gender Delusion by Cordelia Fine; Stop Fixing the Women by Catherine Fox; Why Science is Sexist by Nicola Gaston; Lab Girl by Hope Jahren; The Only Woman in the Room by Eileen Pollack; Inferior by Angela Saini


Head of Department: Professor Michael Steel, Tel. 9850 8916, Email: michael.steel@mq.edu.au

Equity and Diversity committee chair

Ms Emma Hastings: Department Manager, Tel. 9850 8911, Email: emma.hastings@mq.edu.au

Macquarie University Ally Network local members

The Ally network supports a positive and safe workplace for LGBTIQ+ staff and students. Local members within the Department of Physics and Astronomy are listed below, and may be academic or professional staff. Please don't hesitate to contact an Ally Network member for advice or assistance.

Orsola De Marco; Richard McDermid; Michael Steel; Joanne Dawson; Daniel Zucker; Emma  Hastings; Cormac Purcell; Kelly Sharpless

Back to the top of this page