Letter to Macquarie University 2020

Dear Professor Dowton,

I am writing on behalf of the Australian Women’s and Gender Studies Association (AWGSA) executive committee. AWGSA is the national peak body representing academics, researchers and students of Women’s and Gender Studies.

At AWGSA, we have been following the proposed changes to the Gender Studies program at Macquarie University. Investment in gender studies is imperative, particularly as interest in women’s and gender issues continues to grow both academically and in the community.

Macquarie University has offered a gender studies major, inclusive of outstanding teaching by top academics, since 1984. It is vital that the program is allowed to continue and develop. This is particularly pertinent due to the resurgence of interest, nationally and internationally, in women’s and gender issues such as inequality, violence, feminisms, and trans rights. Indeed, the global pandemic continues to highlight gender inequalities about which our universities are obliged to inform and educate our students. It is crucial, therefore, that Australian universities remain at the forefront of women’s and gender studies education and research.

AWGSA requests that Macquarie University reappraises its proposal to cut the gender studies major. While appreciating the immense pressure on universities in the current conditions to reduce costs, the damage caused by failing to offer students the opportunity to undertake gender studies and learn from leading academics will be far more costly and damaging.

Over the past two days, contact has been made by many past and present leaders of Women’s and Gender Studies programs in Australian universities, as well as academics and students. They have requested to be included as signatories to this letter alongside the AWGSA executive committee.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Juliet Watson, AWGSA President

Professor Emeritus Margaret Allen, University of Adelaide.

Dr Barbara Baird, Associate Professor, Women’s and Gender Studies, Flinders University.

Dr Barbara Barbosa Neves, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, School of Social Sciences, Monash University.

Dr Ashley Barnwell, Senior Research Fellow, School of Social and Political Sciences, The University of Melbourne.

Associate Professor Alison Bartlett, Editor Outskirts online journal, University of Western Australia.

Dr Victoria Bladen, Sessional Lecturer, School of Communication and Arts, The University of Queensland.

Dr Torika Bolatagici, Lecturer, Art and Performance, Member of Deakin University Gender Sexuality Studies Network.

Kathryn Brimblecombe-Fox, PhD candidate, Curtin University, WA. Honorary Research Fellow, School of Communication and Arts, University of Queensland.

Dr Brendan Churchill, Research Fellow, School of Social and Political Sciences, The University of Melbourne.

Dr Julia Coffey, Senior Lecturer, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, The University of Newcastle.

Christine Craik, Lecturer, Social Work and Human Services, RMIT University.

Associate Professor Hernan Cuervo, Deputy Director of the Youth Research Centre, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, The University of Melbourne.

Dr Carolyn D’Cruz, LaTrobe University.

Elese Dowden, The University of Queensland/The Australasian Post-Humanities.

Dr Victoria Duckett, founding editorial board member, Feminist Media Histories & Senior Lecturer, Screen, Deakin University.

Dr Kirsty Duncanson, Senior Lecturer of Crime, Justice and Legal Studies, La Trobe University.

Dr David Farrugia, Senior Lecturer, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, The University of Newcastle.

Professor Emeritus Carole Ferrier, Editor, Hecate and the Australian Women’s Book Review, The University of Queensland.

Dr Jacinthe Flore, Vice-Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellow, School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, RMIT University.

Emeritus Professor Suzanne Franzway, Sociology and Gender Studies, University of South Australia.

Dr Jessica Gerrard, Senior Lecturer and Assistant Dean – Diversity and Inclusion, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, The University of Melbourne.

Dr Susan Hawthorne, Adjunct Professor, Department of Humanities, School of Arts & Social Sciences, James Cook University.

Dr Nicholas Hill, Research Associate, Social and Global Studies Centre, RMIT University.

Professor Katie Holmes, Director, Centre for the Study of the Inland, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, La Trobe University.

Professor Katherine Johnson, Director, Social and Global Studies Centre, RMIT University.

Dr Kate Johnston-Ataata, Research Fellow, Social & Global Studies Centre, RMIT University.

Dr Timothy W. Jones, Senior Lecturer in History, La Trobe University.

Dr Deborah Jordan, Monash University.

Dr Claire Knowles, Senior Lecturer in Literary Studies, La Trobe University.

Dr Marguerite La Caze, Associate Professor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland.

Dr Janine Little, Senior Lecturer, Communication, Member of Deakin University Gender Sexuality Studies Network, Deakin University.

Professor Emerita Susan Magarey AM, FASSA, PhD, former Director of the research Centre for Women’s Studies, University of Adelaide, Founding Editor of Australian Feminist Studies.

Associate Professor Robyn Martin, Associate Dean, Social Work and Human Services, RMIT University.

Dr Chris Maylea, Senior Lecturer, Social Work and Human Services, RMIT University.

Dr Joanna McIntyre, Lecturer in Media Studies, Swinburne University of Technology.

Dr Joni Meenagh, Lecturer, Criminal and Justice Studies, School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, RMIT University.

Dr Sian Mitchell, Lecturer, Screen and Design, Deakin University.

Dr Sharlene Nipperess, Senior Lecturer, Social Work and Human Services, RMIT University.

Dr Samantha Owen, Lecturer, Humanities and Social Sciences Education, Curtin University.

Professor Bob Pease, Honorary Professor, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Deakin University.

Dr Signe Ravn, Senior Lecturer, School of Social and Political Sciences, The University of Melbourne.

Professor Sean Redmond, Screen and Design, Editorial Board Member of Feminist Media Studies, and Editor of Celebrity Studies, Deakin University.

Dr Emma Russell, Senior Lecturer in Crime, Justice & Legal Studies and Coordinator of Gender, Sexuality & Diversity Studies Major, La Trobe University.

Professor Lyndall Ryan, Cojoint Fellow, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, The University of Newcastle.

Dr Zora Simic, Senior Lecturer, History and Gender Studies, School of Humanities and Languages, UNSW.

Associate Professor, Ceridwen Spark, School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, RMIT University.

Lesley Synge, writer and teacher.

Daniella Trimboli, Honorary Research Fellow, Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation, Deakin University.

Dr Caroline Wallace, Lecturer Visual Arts, La Trobe University.

Dr Jessica White, UQ Amplify Associate Lecturer, The University of Queensland.

Associate Professor Dan Woodman, School of Social and Political Sciences, The University of Melbourne.

Clare Wright, Professor of History, La Trobe University.

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