The challenges for gender equality in a distributed university in regional Australia

Kirsty Smith, Catherine Thomas, Janelle Thomas, Craig Hinley, Timothy Wess

Research output: Other contribution to conferencePresentation onlypeer-review


The structural and cultural barriers to women’s achievement in the higher education sector have been well-researched. It’s long been acknowledged that career breaks for child-rearing, and women’s self-beliefs about their abilities can impact negatively on their careers, and many programs and policies have been implemented to redress these around the world. Through auto-ethnographic accounts, this presentation explores the experiences of four female researchers at Charles Sturt University (CSU) Australia, and asks does working in a regional university, with campuses spread across 1,000 kilometres, have an additional impact on women’s career progression?

CSU has nine campuses distributed across two states, New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory, with 4,500 employees supporting 42,000 students. The University is acknowledged for its innovative approach to professional education, online learning and teaching, high graduate employment rate and flexible program delivery. Courses, schools, and work teams are often spread across multiple campuses, and travel between campuses is sometimes a necessity; one that is time-consuming and requires time away from family. For some women, travelling isn’t possible due to family commitments.

This presentation explores the intersection of gender and location through case studies of personal experiences. The case studies investigate the effects that travel limitations can have on access to professional development opportunities, participation in work team events, and career progression within the institution. Findings from these case studies are informing the development of the University’s first gender equity strategy which will be finalised by the end of 2018.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 20 Aug 2018
Event10th European Conference on Gender Equality in Higher Education - Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland
Duration: 20 Aug 201822 Aug 2018


Conference10th European Conference on Gender Equality in Higher Education
Internet address


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