Diversity Committee

Silver Pleiades Award, 2014 The Diversity Committee advises the AAO in all matters of diversity, equity, and fair representation. We want our organisation's staff diversity to reflect the communities from which we hire. We will advocate for the encouragement of less-represented groups within the broader community to participate in our organisation. The committee aims to lead by example and help the AAO achieve its goal of having a diverse staff, as we know this to be the best way to access the finest talent from the broader community. We aim to exist in a workplace that is mindful of other people's nationality, gender, ethnicity or origin, culture, language, relationship status, pregnancy, sexuality, medical conditions or disability, age and political or religious belief.

The AAO Diversity Committee has been instrumental in or contributed to the following diversity-related activities for the AAO:

  • Return to Work Scholarship for researchers returning from an extended leave of absence as a primary carer.

  • Acknowledgement of Traditional Owners of the AAT site.

    Plaque in the AAT Visitors Gallery acknowledging the Gamilaraay people as traditional owners

  • Employment of Indigenous Australians and people with disabilities.

  • Winning the 2013 Australian Human Resources Institute Gender Equity Award in recognition of activities in support of gender equity.

  • In 2014 we were awarded a Silver Pleiades Award in recognition of our commitment to gender equity and our recent track record.

For the Pleiades Award we identified a set of future activities for the AAO including three areas where we will aim to improve. We are working on these areas and have the following procedures in place, while exploring more options for the future: 

  1. A growing role for the Diversity Committee in recruitment and policy development.
    1. Our job advertisments feature a paragraph that describes our commitment to inclusion and diversity. 
    2. A committee member will review each job advert and advise on language and any issues. 
    3. The role of the diversity committee in shaping AAO policy is being felt primarily through participation of executive members in this committee. 
    4. AAO staff are frequently invited to give talks about diversity and inclusion. 
  2. Continuing professional development for women on the AAO staff.
    1. Training opportunities available to everybody through the Department's Learning and Development program and publicised via all-staff emails. 
    2. We hold Ladies’ Lunch on a monthly basis, where challenges and accomplishments are discussed. 
  3. An ongoing commitment to participating in, and where appropriate sponsoring, community activities such as the annual WiA Workshops. ?
    1. The AAO sponsors WiA workshops and will continue to do so. 
    2. Sarah Brough is chair of the ASA IDEA Chapter (formerly the Women in Astronomy Chapter) and Andrew Hopkins is on the steering committee. 
    3. We have hosted an EMCR writing workshop, which is part of our continuing involvement in the ASA ECR Chapter. 

Growing from and unifying many of the informal internal processes at the AAO, the AAO Diversity Committee had its first formal and official meeting on Monday, 23 June 2014, and has met on a monthly basis since. We are happy to welcome more members onto the committee, so do contact Andrew (chair) or anyone on the list below for more information or with a request to join. 

Committee Membership

  • Rebecca Brown, Instrumentation
  • Kristin Fiegert, Operations
  • Ben Wilkin, Operations
  • Andrew Hopkins, Astronomy (Chair)
  • Kyler Kuehn, Instrument Science
  • Neville Legg, Corporate
  • Nuria Lorente, Software
  • Fred Watson, Astronomy/Operations
  • Jessica Zheng, Instrument Science 

Previous Members

  • Sarah Brough, Astronomy, AAO Future Fellow
  • Caroline Foster, Astronomy
  • Iraklis Konstantopoulos, Astronomy


Viewing PDFs

Download Adobe Reader

To view PDF files you need Adobe Acrobat Reader. Use Adobe's online PDF conversion tools to convert to another format.