Are you a supervisor of choice for women?


Happy International Women’s Day!

Are you supervising a female student? How do you create an academic culture of inclusivity (rather than isolation) for female students? In Australia, women are significantly more likely to be in caring roles, and to shoulder more responsibility for work in the home, with potential impact on study. Women are also more likely to experience sexual harassment at work. Here’s a test to check if you could be a “supervisor of choice for gender equality” (we have an Australian government citation available for “employer of choice for gender equality”). Do you:

  1. Know your university’s childcare provisions and insider info re waiting lists etc. inside out, so you can advise your students if necessary?
  2. Introduce all students to female academics as role models?
  3. Know school pick up times and holidays, and avoid scheduling meetings for those times, where relevant?
  4. Routinely suggest readings by female academics and theorists?
  5. Advise attending conference presentations led by female academics?
  6. Provide all students with readings re sexism in the academy?
  7. Direct all students, as a matter of course, to your institution’s web pages on equality and diversity.
  8. Consider how you can promote and support the voices of female students being heard in all possible fora, including faculty presentations, social media, peer support groups etc?
  9. Regularly update your knowledge of your university’s support for those in caring roles, for example for elderly parents?
  10. Foster representation of female academics on your walls, in your bookcase, in the citations of your own papers and articles and in the units you teach?

Some of these ideas are inspired by my involvement in Feminist Educators against Sexism: #FEAS. Follow at


Author: Lucinda McKnight

Dr Lucinda McKnight is a lecturer in curriculum and pedagogy at Deakin University. She has a BA in Fine Arts, Women's Studies and English from the University of Melbourne, an MA (Distinction) in Media, Culture and Communication, from the Institute of Education now at UCL, and a PhD in Education from Deakin University. Her cartoons have appeared in a number of publications, including Farrago and Health Voice. She has exhibited her artwork at Museum Victoria and the Victorian College of the Arts.

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