Celebrating equity and diversity

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Dean, Professor Mark Hargreaves, presents Professor Kavanagh with the award

The contributions to health equity and advocacy of Professor Anne Kavanagh, Director of Gender and Women's Health Unit in the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health were celebrated recently at the MDHS Faculty Staff Equity and Diversity Awards.

Before the awards Professor Kavanagh addressed the audience and asked them to consider some truths of how places of employment can view someone with a disability through 'soft-bigotry and low expectations'. This often unconscious behaviour cultivates a workplace environment where many people with disabilities are over skilled and over qualified for the positions they hold.

There were many changes an employer can do to make the workplace a suitable environment for those with disabilities which Professor Kavanagh urged the University to consider. This includes joining the Australian Network of Disability, consider able access changes across campus, and increasing the representation of disabled staff members on committees and interview panels.

With strong support for students with disabilities, but not as much for staff, there is a need for the University to extend its policy and practice for students with disabilities to include staff.

More information on the Equity, Diversity and Staff Development portfolio can be found on the MDHS Intranet.