Athena Swan Silver Award for School of Physics and Astronomy
7 September 2021
The School of Physics and Astronomy is proud to announce that they have received an Athena Swan Silver Award from the Equality Challenge Unit in recognition of their commitment to support for the advancement of the careers of women, and gender equality more broadly.
Established in 2005, the Athena Swan Charter is a framework used around the world to promote gender equality within higher education and research in the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine.
The School of Physics and Astronomy intends to provide an environment where everyone feels welcomed, respected and empowered to grow and achieve their aims. It has already been awarded Juno Champion status which is the Institute of Physics’s flagship gender equality award for university physics departments.
As part of the Juno and Athena Swan action plan the School is establishing a number of initiatives including compulsory active bystander training which helps build a more supportive community to spot and tackle any inappropriate behaviour. It has set targets for the number of non-traditional speakers at seminars, and is expanding the number of all-School seminars on inclusion topics through the TWiSTEM network. Reflecting the important aspects of diversity that go beyond just gender, the network will soon be renamed DISTEM (Diversity in STEM) and will be expanding across more schools within the College of Physical Sciences and Engineering.
The School’s Athena Swan lead, Wendy Sadler, said: “It is so exciting to be awarded the Athena Swan Silver award to build on what feels like a real momentum for change. We know that inclusion matters deeply to our students and staff and thanks to the support from so many in the School and the wider university community we are starting to make a real difference for equality in Physics. We want to use this momentum to make sure we are making the School an even better place to work and study.”
Cosimo Inserra, the Chair of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity Committee and Athena Swan co-author, said: “I am thrilled that our ideas and actions to constantly improve the ethos of our School have been recognised with such a prestigious award by the Athena Swan Charter. This is a reflection of how much importance we place on equality, inclusivity and diversity. There is still work to do to and improvements to make but we know we are on the right track and our goals are sound.”
Head of School, Peter Smowton said “I am really proud of the award of Athena Swan Silver and the recognition of the steps we are taking, and will take, to tackle gender equality and diversity more widely. We also recognise that there is still much more to do and we will continue our commitment to promote equality, diversity and inclusivity within our School and community.”