For the second consecutive year, UNSW Sydney has achieved the level of Gold Employer status in the Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI).

The AWEI is a rigorous, evidence-based benchmarking instrument that assesses the inclusion of gender, sex and sexuality diverse (LGBTQIA+) staff in Australian workplaces. This is the fourth consecutive year that UNSW Sydney has been recognised as a leading Australian organisation for LGBTQIA+ inclusion, and the second year to be honoured with gold status.

A record 186 organisations participated in the 2021 Index, with submissions received from a mix of public, private, and not-for-profit employers. UNSW shares its gold accolade with the likes of the ABC, KPMG and the Woolworths Group. For the second year in a row, UNSW ranks in the top three higher education institutions in Australia for LGBTQIA+ inclusion.

Accepting the award at the 28 May ceremony was outgoing UNSW LGBTQIA+ Champion Dr Bridget Haire and Rebecca Freed, Diversity & Inclusion Officer and coordinator of the Ally@UNSW Network. Ms Freed, who made the submission on behalf of UNSW, said, “Maintaining our Gold Employer status was no easy feat, as the bar is raised every year for participating organisations. Employer Recognition Tiers change annually based on the top scores achieved within a given submission year.”

The outcome is even more impressive given the considerable impacts of the pandemic in 2020. “It is hard to believe now that we were able to bring together 1,000 students and staff to form the Human Rainbow in February 2020. The months that followed necessitated finding new ways of engaging with the LGBTQIA+ community and Allies at UNSW, like celebrating Wear It Purple Day online and facilitating Ally training virtually,” said Ms Freed.

UNSW Sydney


“The last year has been extraordinarily challenging for the university sector, but our AWEI ranking demonstrates that UNSW maintained its commitment to providing a safe, fair and supportive environment for LGTBQIA+ staff and students. Commitment to real equity for sexuality and gender minorities remains a priority, and we continue to make progress,” said Dr Bridget Haire, who served as UNSW LGBTQIA+ Champion for the two years UNSW achieved Gold status.

After attending the awards ceremony on behalf of UNSW, Dr Haire has now completed her term as a Diversity Champion, which was characterised by unwavering passion, advocacy and leadership for the LGBTQIA+ community. Dr Haire has laid a rich groundwork for her successors to build upon.

Meet the new UNSW LGBTQIA+ Champions

The Division of Equity Diversity & Inclusion has appointed four new Diversity Champions to represent the LGBTQIA+ community at UNSW:

  • Sophia German | PhD Candidate and Research Assistant, School of Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences
  • Professor Lucas Lixinski | Professor, Faculty of Law & Justice
  • Dr Éidín Ní Shé | Senior Lecturer, School of Population Health
  • Christopher Pearce | Lecturer, Faculty of Law & Justice

The Ally@UNSW Network hosts regular ‘Lunch & Learn’ sessions throughout the year to connect the community through the sharing of knowledge and experiences. For the first session of 2021, you have the opportunity to meet the incoming LGBTQIA+ Champions and hear what they hope to achieve during their two-year term.

The event will be held on Thursday 24 June, 12:30 - 1:30pm.

Register here