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Advancing gender equality in the arts

16 September 2014

Advancing gender equality in the arts

Three University departments have been recognised for their progress in advancing gender equality in arts, humanities and social science careers in higher education.

Cardiff Business School, the School of Modern Languages and the Department of Politics and International Relations have all achieved Bronze level in Equality Challenge Unit's (ECU) trial gender equality charter mark – the first award scheme of its kind for these disciplines.

Bronze level is the first step in the process, showing a strong commitment to specific actions and building a culture that will improve the representation, progression and success of both staff and students.

The results mark the conclusion of a trial round of awards which adapted the principles of ECU's highly successful Athena SWAN Charter to specific issues faced by academic and professional services staff in UK institutions in arts, humanities and social science subjects.

The University is committed to supporting, developing and promoting equality and diversity in all of its practices and activities. In 2012, the University's Strategic Equality Plan was launched to provide a clear framework for embedding and mainstreaming equality and diversity in all activities in ways that are both legally compliant and seen as everyday good practice.

Professor George Boyne, Pro Vice-Chancellor, College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, said: "Our success in achieving the Bronze level award marks a significant commitment to advancing gender equality across our University.

"Our attention now moves to embedding our strategies, putting them into practice to ensure we achieve a representative and successful College community, and achieving the gender equality charter mark for all of our Schools".

David Ruebain, ECU's chief executive, said: "The results offer an opportunity to celebrate the hard work and achievements of everyone involved in the charter mark trial, and to focus on the positive progress being made to address chronic gender inequalities in higher education.

"Following the success of this trial round, we are delighted that we will now be able to fully develop a charter mark that supports equality in the arts, humanities and social sciences – disciplines that have not until this point received the same attention as science subjects.

"We hope that the gender equality charter mark will have the same positive effect for these subjects as Athena SWAN has had on women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine.

"I commend the work of all the participants so far and look forward to seeing the impact of their actions as they move up to silver and gold levels in the future."

An event to celebrate the progress participants have made in the trial will take place in December 2014. ECU is currently finalising the format of the future charter based on feedback from trial participants, with a view to aligning it more closely with the Athena SWAN charter. All institutions and arts, humanities and social science departments will be able to take part in the charter mark in 2015.