Building belonging: A grassroots peer-support network for academic women

Jennifer L. Beaudry, Narelle Lemon, Helana Scheepers, Flavia Marcello, Esther Wilding, Christine Agius, Simone Taffe, Birgit Loch, Virginia Kilborn

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Relationships are one of the core pillars to wellbeing. In the workplace, relationships provide an opportunity for learning with and from one another. In academia, healthy relationships are vital. We see networking, mentoring relationships, and connecting as a part of forming one’s academic identity. This chapter presents the development of the Swinburne Women’s Academic Network (SWAN) at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia. We discuss why such a network is required, unpack SWAN’s five programs, explain the principles that underpin our vision, and demonstrate how SWAN has connected women in our university. Relationships are key to SWAN’s success. SWAN builds belonging in academia by sharing practical advice and expertise, nurturing networking opportunities, creating safe spaces, and providing tailored financial support. Our experiences, combined with those of our participants, show that a grassroots peer-support network for academic women fosters connections.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHealthy Relationships in Higher Education
Subtitle of host publicationPromoting Wellbeing Across Academia
EditorsNarelle Lemon
PublisherRoutlege, Taylor and Francis
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-003-14498-4
ISBN (Print)978-0-367-70198-7, 978-0-367-70197-0
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameWellbeing and Self-care in Higher Education: Embracing Positive Solutions


  • Academia
  • Peer-support
  • Mentoring
  • Academic women
  • Networking


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