Equity and diversity

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Equity is a fundamental element of the UNSW vision and is a guiding principle in the University’s strategic intent. The maintenance of an equitable and inclusive campus and workplace is fundamental to UNSW’s mission to become one of the world’s top 50 universities.

UNSW: Committed to equity and diversity

The University:

  • fosters a culture that values and responds to the rich diversity of its staff and students
  • provides equal opportunity by removing barriers to participation and progression in employment and education so that all staff and students have the opportunity to fully contribute to University life
  • promotes clear and accountable educational and management policies and practices to engender trust between managers and their staff and students
  • enhances the quality of students' learning through the provision of culturally, socially and gender inclusive education in areas such as curricula, teaching methods, assessment and review provisions, written and audiovisual material and support services
  • ensures that its staff and students are aware of their rights and their responsibilities as University members. 


UNSW is Australia’s most cosmopolitan university. Our Australian students come from diverse backgrounds, many being the first in their family to attend university. 

We are also Australia’s first international university, having enrolled significant numbers of international students since 1951, with more than 120 countries now represented.

In the reporting period, enrolments numbered:

  • 39,651 local students
  • 14,392 international students.

The top 10 countries of origin for international students were China, USA, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, India, Vietnam, Brazil and the Republic of Korea.

Student Equity and Disabilities Unit

The Student Equity and Disabilities Unit provide expertise in educational liaison and student equity and ensure that UNSW:

  • provides safe and inclusive environment for all students
  • is free from discrimination
  • is a place where diversity and multiculturalism is celebrated and welcomed.


UNSW staff are supported by Workplace Diversity which provides strategic advice to management and the University Executive on opportunities to remove barriers to equity and inclusion in the workplace and campus community.

Workplace Diversity advocates for a University community that is inclusive, aware and informed, tolerant of diversity, and intellectually and emotionally comfortable with difference. 

The unit supports staff in the development of diversity initiatives focused on gender, mature age, accessibility, LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and questioning) and cultural competence.

Gender equity and diversity initiatives in 2015

SAGE: UNSW is an inaugural participant in an Australia-first pilot program to improve the promotion and retention of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine. The Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) Pilot Program is a partnership between the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering.
Science 50:50: UNSW launched the Science 50:50 Initiative, which is aimed at inspiring young women to pursue degrees and careers in science and technology. Led by Scientia Professor Veena Sahajwalla, it will provide internships, scholarships and mentoring to girls so they can succeed in an innovation-driven future. It is supported by UNSW, Professor Sahajwalla’s ARC Georgina Sweet Laureate Fellowship and industry partners.
Nura Gili: provides pathway programs to university for Indigenous students and ongoing study support. In 2015, UNSW graduated a record number of eight Indigenous doctors. A record number of Indigenous PhD students also completed their studies.