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 2016, and was renewed in September 2022
The School of Physical Sciences, facilitated by the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committe, is pursuing an action plan to support women in the disciplines of Chemistry, Physics and Mathematical Sciences across the following key priority areas:
- Recruitment of female staff
- Satisfactin with family leave
- Promotion of female staff
- Reduction of Bullying and Harassment
- Recruitment fo female PGT students
Post-May 2015 Athena Swan principles
The Athena Swan Charter is based on ten key principles. By being part of Athena Swan, institutions are committing to a progressive Charter; adopting these principles within their policies, practice, action plans and culture.
- We acknowledge that academia cannot reach its full potential unless it can benefit from the talents of all.
- We commit to advancing gender equality in academia, in particular, addressing the loss of women across the career pipeline and the absence of women from senior academic, professional and support roles.
- We commit to addressing unequal gender representation across academic disciplines and professional and support functions. In this we recognise disciplinary differences including:
- the relative underrepresentation of women in senior roles in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL)
- the particularly high loss rate of women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM)
- We commit to tackling the gender pay gap.
- We commit to removing the obstacles faced by women, in particular, at major points of career development and progression including the transition from PhD into a sustainable academic career.
- We commit to addressing the negative consequences of using short-term contracts for the retention and progression of staff in academia, particularly women.
- We commit to tackling the discriminatory treatment often experienced by trans people.
- We acknowledge that advancing gender equality demands commitment and action from all levels of the organisation and in particular active leadership from those in senior roles.
- We commit to making and mainstreaming sustainable structural and cultural changes to advance gender equality, recognising that initiatives and actions that support individuals alone will not sufficiently advance equality.
- All individuals have identities shaped by several different factors. We commit to considering the intersection of gender and other factors wherever possible.