The Athena SWAN Charter recognises the advancement of gender equality: representation, progression and success for all working in science, technology, engineering, medicine and mathematics (STEMM) in higher education and research.
The Athena SWAN Charter was launched in 2005 with three core beliefs:
- The advancement of science, technology, engineering, medicine and mathematics is fundamental to quality of life across the globe.
- It is vitally important that women are adequately represented in what has traditionally been, and still is, a male-dominated area.
- Science cannot reach its full potential unless it can benefit from the talents of the whole population, and until women and men can benefit equally from the opportunities it affords.
In May 2015 the charter was expanded to recognise work undertaken in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL), and in professional and support roles, and for trans staff and students. The charter now recognises work undertaken to address gender equality more broadly, and not just barriers to progression that affect women.
The School of Physical Sciences achieved the Athena SWAN bronze award in September 2014 and the Athena SWAN silver award in May 2017.
The School of Physical Sciences, facilitated by the Equality & Diversity Group, is pursuing an action plan to support women in the disciplines of Chemistry, Physics and Mathematical Sciences across the following four themes:
- Addressing gender imbalance in the student body
- Addressing gender imbalance in staffing
- Support for career development
- Culture, Communications and Representation