Equality and Diversity

Athena SWAN Bronze

 The University has held the Athena SWAN Institutional Bronze Award in recognition of its commitment to advancing women’s careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) since 2014.


To mark the achievement of the Bronze Award, Vice-Chancellor Professor Graham Galbraith said: “This is a significant achievement for the University which confirms our determination to identify and remove gender bias and ensure we have an inclusive culture that values all staff.

“I am personally looking forward to working within the Athena SWAN framework not only to satisfy our commitments related to our Bronze award, but also to build towards an institutional Silver award.”


Professor Janis Shute, Chair of the University’s Athena Swan Self-Assessment Team, said: “I am extremely pleased that the University has achieved this recognition. Through the action plan, as well as individual departmental awards, the University aims to remain responsive to the challenges that face women in STEM and ensure that good practice in gender equality, which benefits both men and women, is shared across all areas.”


In May 2015 the charter was extended to recognise work undertaken in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL), in professional and support roles and for trans staff and students.


It now recognises work undertaken to address gender equality more broadly, and not just barriers to progression that affect women. The University now needs to develop a new University submission for November 2017, with a robust four year action plan, which recognises these important changes to Athena SWAN.


In December 2016 the University signed up to the Athena SWAN charter Extended Principles, which are :-


1. We acknowledge that academia cannot reach its full potential unless it can benefit from the talents of all.

2. 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.

3. 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)

4. We commit to tackling the gender pay gap.

5. 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.

6. We commit to addressing the negative consequences of using short-term contracts for the retention and progression of staff in academia, particularly women.

7. We commit to tackling the discriminatory treatment often experienced by trans people.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. All individuals have identities shaped by several different factors. We commit to considering the intersection of gender and other factors wherever possible.