The Pleiades Awards

Recognising Commitment to Inclusion, Diversity and Equity in Astronomy



The Pleiades Awards, inspired by the UK’s Athena SWAN program, were originally launched by the ASA Chapter for Women in Astronomy (WiA) to recognise organisations in Australian astronomy that take active steps to advance the careers of women through focused programs and strive for sustained improvement in providing opportunities for women to achieve positions of seniority, influence and recognition. Starting in 2018 the criteria for the Pleiades Awards changed to reflect this expanded goal of equity and inclusion at all levels, and across all people in the astronomical community.

Levels of Award

There are three levels of Award: Bronze, Silver, and Gold. In the event that the criteria for the level of award sought by the eligible organisation are not met, the awards committee will consider the application against the criteria for a lower award level.


The Bronze Pleiades is the entry-level award for organisations that are committed to the aims of the IDEA Chapter. Organisations must demonstrate that they have examined their conduct against the aims of the Chapter, developed a credible and measurable plan of action and demonstrated commitment to implement changes consistently across the organisation.


The Silver Pleiades recognises organisations with a sustained record of at least two years monitoring and improving the working environment. It also recognises leadership in promoting positive actions as examples of best practice to other organisations in the astronomy community. Prior attainment of a Bronze award is a prerequisite for this award.


The Gold Pleiades Award recognises a truly outstanding sustained commitment to best practice in relation to the aims of the IDEA Chapter. Attaining a Gold Pleiades award is an exceptional accomplishment. Prior attainment of both Bronze and Silver awards is a prerequisite for this award. Attaining a Gold Pleiades award is an exceptional accomplishment.

Duration of the Pleiades Awards

The Pleiades Awards last for two calendar years from the 1st of January each year. Holders must re-apply for accreditation every two years. It is the intention of the award committee that all Pleiades Award holders continue to improve and upgrade their accreditation. If awardees fail to re-apply, their award will become invalid effective January 1st of the next year.

Existing Pleiades Award holders must advise the awards committee immediately if they receive a judgment or adverse final order by a court or other tribunal relating to gender discrimination or harassment. This may result in the Award being rescinded with immediate effect. Under such circumstances, the organisation may only reapply after a period of 12 months has elapsed since the Award was rescinded.


Who can apply for a Pleiades Award?

Any research organisation, institute, joint venture, centre of excellence, university school, department or other body located in Australia or New Zealand that employs members of the ASA in an activity related to astronomy may be deemed eligible to apply for a Pleiades Award. The current ‘list of eligible organisations’ is included below.

If an organisation contains more than one group to which ASA members are affiliated, then all such groups are eligible to apply. For example, The University of Sydney includes both the School of Physics and Sydney Institute for Astronomy. In this case, either the School of Physics or the Sydney Institute for Astronomy (or both) are eligible to apply. However, in such cases, co-ordination within the organisation is highly desirable. Questions about eligibility should be directed to the Chair of the Chapter. Applications to join the list of eligible organisations can be made at any time. Requests should be addressed in writing to the chair of the ASA’s IDEA Chapter and signed by the head of the organisation.



List of Eligible Organisations

    • Astronomy Australia Limited

    • The Australian Astronomical Observatory

    • ANU (Mount Stromolo and Siding Spring Observatory)

    • ASTRO-3D

    • CSIRO Astronomy & Space Science

    • Curtin University (Curtin Institute for Radio Astronomy)

    • ICRAR

    • Macquarie University (Dept. of Physics and Astronomy)

    • Monash University (Monash Centre for Astrophysics)

    • QUT’s Astrophysics Research Group

    • Sydney Observatory

    • Swinburne University (Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing)

    • The University of Adelaide (School of Chemistry & Physics)

    • The University of Melbourne (School of Physics, Astrophysics)

    • The University of New South Wales (Department of Astrophysics and Optics)

    • The University of Queensland (School of Mathematics and Physics)

    • The University of Southern Queensland (Astrophysics Group)

    • The University of Sydney (SIfA)

    • The University of Tasmania (School of Maths and Physics)

    • The University of Auckland (Department of Physics)

    • The University of Western Australia (Astronomy and Astrophysics)

    • The University of Western Sydney (School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics)