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Athena SWAN

The Athena SWAN Charter was established in 2005 to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM).

In May 2015 the charter was expanded to recognise work undertaken in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL), 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.

Athena SWAN core team
Sir Paul Nurse, Athena SWAN Charter Patron, presenting the Bronze Award to School Manager Dr Anna Hurley and Project Manager Janet Richardson at the awards ceremony in July 2018.

The School takes personal pride and responsibility in embedding the principles of the Athena SWAN Charter and the School was delighted to receive a bronze award in April 2018. The award reflects a culmination of many months’ work and has provided an opportunity to further embed a culture of dignity, courtesy and respect.

Our aims

Local equality and diversity committees were embedded within the School’s research divisions, Centre for Medical Education as well as the Centre for Trials research. These feed into the main School Equality and Diversity committee to ensure greater engagement of staff and a coordinated approach to address four key aims:

  1. To advance gender parity in career development
  2. To support, develop and promote equality, diversity and inclusivity in practice
  3. To eliminate all forms of discrimination, harassment and victimisation
  4. To develop a sustainable positive working environment and culture based upon dignity, courtesy and respect

Our achievements

We now have over 100 staff across all career pathways actively participating in the School EDI forum and local committees. The local committees meet monthly, and were actively engaged in informing the development of the School’s Athena SWAN action plan and overarching EDI agenda.

There have been many highlights in our journey to bronze award:

  • Mini EDI survey (to ensure all staff have a voice).
  • Facilitated focus groups (to explore the comments from the survey and inform the action plan).
  • Production of an ‘Active Bystander’ video (“This is our School, our responsibility, don’t stand by”).
  • Creation of a promotional graphic ‘make your mark’ (all staff ‘signed up’ to supporting an environment of dignity and respect).
  • Athena SWAN lecture series (personal stories that celebrate and recognise the achievement of all staff).
  • Mentoring circles.
  • Do Something Different Day.
  • iMPReSS network providing career development and wellbeing events for our professional services staff including the promotion of the University Apprenticeship programme delivering nationally recognised qualifications in business administration for our Admin/MPSS staff.
  • Early Career Researcher (ECR) Forum to promote and maximise career development opporunities for our early career researchers.

'Active Bystander' video

'Active Bystander' video produced by the School of Medicine.

Contact us

If you’d like to know more about Athena SWAN and how you can promote gender equality across the School, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the core team.

School of Medicine Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)