Group meeting

Working towards gender equality

Discover what we're doing to promote gender equality at the University

We want all our staff and students to thrive in an inclusive environment without barriers relating to gender.

We’ve been a member of the Athena Swan Charter since 2011, and have held the Athena Swan Bronze Award since 2014. Athena Swan is a national charter recognising the advancement of gender equality in higher education, encompassing representation, progression and success for all.

Our membership of the Athena Swan Charter demonstrates our commitment to tackling gender inequality for staff and students, through long-term institutional culture change. As well as our University Bronze Award, many of our schools, departments and faculties have achieved Athena Swan awards for their work towards gender equality.

If you have questions about our membership of the Athena Swan Equality Charter, please email Our Pro-Vice Chancellor for Global Engagement, Chris Chang, is our acting Gender Equality Champion, supported by co-chairs Liza Howe-Walsh and Jane Chandler.

Faculty and department awards

Many of our academic faculties and departments uphold their own commitments to gender equality, alongside contributing to the wider aims of the University. The following departments all hold Athena Swan Awards in recognition of their work addressing gender equality in the department and in their fields.

Silver Award

Athena Swan Silver Award
Athena Swan bronze logo

Promoting gender equality as an employer

Athena Swan Champions Funds

We've set up the Athena Swan Champions Fund to support projects, initiatives and activities that encourage gender equality. Staff can apply for funding if their project supports aims set out in the Athena Swan extended principles. The Fund has previously contributed to our annual Athena Swan conference, a bullying and harassment action inquiry run by our Organisation and Culture working group (facilitated by Changing University Cultures), and the Inspirational Women Of Portsmouth 2021 Awards campaign.
Business meeting
Staff can apply here

Harassment Advisor Network

We're committed to tackling all forms of bullying and harassment, including gender-based harassment. We ask all our staff to stand by our Dignity and Respect policy, but if they experience bullying or harassment, our advisors can offer support and explain their options for addressing and/or reporting the incident.
Staff meeting in meeting room
Staff can get support here

Staff training

As part of our probationary training, all staff take part in training on diversity and inclusion, unconscious bias awareness, and anti-bullying and harassment. We also provide optional training for staff who want further support to succeed in their personal and professional life.

Staff can discover training here


Springboard and Navigator

Springboard and Navigator are three-month development programmes that encourage staff to examine their home and work life, and identify practical and realistic steps to fulfil their potential and reach their goals. Springboard is designed for women, and those who identify as women, and Navigator is designed for men, and those who identify as men.

Woman smiling in blazer


Aurora is a development initiative for women, and those who identify as women to explore leadership and management roles in Higher Education. Staff are supported to fulfil their leadership potential via thought-provoking activities, collaborative problem-solving activities and motivational stories of inspirational women role models. 

Law Photoshoot 19th November 2018

Staff mentoring programme

Staff can sign up to be a mentee or a mentor in our University-wide programme that helps develop skills, increase knowledge and understanding of the University and HE sector, and build resilience to better respond to transition and change.

Supporting women in business

Only one in three UK entrepreneurs is female, and women-led businesses are only 44% of the size of male-led businesses (Alison Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship, 2019). Our Faculty of Business and Law (which holds its own Athena Swan Bronze Award) is working to change this by advancing women's careers and addressing gender equality in business.

Accelerating Women's Enterprise (AWE)

Through the AWE project, we're working with a network of organisations in England and France to research and deliver support to women entrepreneurs, and address the gender entrepreneurship imbalance through training and mentoring. As part of the project, we facilitate small group training programmes for women running their own businesses, or thinking of doing so. The programme also trains mentors to pass on their skills and experience to other women, helping them address barriers to entrepreneurship.
Women smiling on development programme
Find out how you can benefit from the AWE project

Female Entrepreneurs Network

Women business owners can join our Female Entrepreneurs Network to connect with other entrepreneurs across the South and learn from other business owners. We hold regular, free events featuring inspiring speakers, and run a private Facebook group for female entrepreneurs to connect.
Women smiling at coast
Join the network to grow your business

Supporting gender equality in research

In our submission to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, 33% of our research staff identified as women. In our REF 2021 submission, this has grown to 39.6%. We're committed to increasing the representation of women in research through our Athena Swan action plan.

Women in Research

Women researchers play a leading role in driving our ambitions. Through their work, they're carving out new knowledge in science, the humanities, technology, the arts and business. As part of our commitment to the Athena Swan Charter principles, we're working to remove the obstacles faced by women at major points of career development and progression, by supporting their progress to senior academic roles.
Jen Gupta at computer during talk
Meet the women driving our research

Women's and Gender Studies research area

Our academics working in the area of 'Women's and Gender Studies' focus on past and present issues in various social and cultural contexts. Highlights include research into white feminist racism, British women's political history and gendered alcohol consumption.
Ethnic women
Explore our Women's and Gender Studies research

Gender, Race and Education research area

Our researchers in the area of 'Gender, Race and Education' explore subtle forms of discrimination to find ways of encouraging and developing a fairer, more equal world. Highlights include research into the regulation of pregnancy in Mozambican schools, the experience of daughters of single mothers in the UK and the experience of traveller children in schools.
Female student in library looking over paperwork
Explore our Gender, Race and Education research

Gender equality support and resources for students

Equality and diversity careers support for students

Our students can access advice on how to identify employers and organisations that promote gender-based inclusivity and diversity in the workplace. We have a gender-specific employment guide for students looking for opportunities, support organisations and networks relating to gender inclusivity. We also have a guide on transgender identity employment, with support to find LGBT-inclusive employers and advice on talking about your gender identity during the application process.
Students meeting in light classroom
Go to the equality and diversity employment guide

Student societies

The Students' Union has many societies that offer safe spaces for students to make friends, attend events and run campaigns, such as the LGBT+ Society and the Feminist Society. We commit to promoting and supporting events and campaigns run by the Students' Union, such as Pride Night and the 2021 Women in Leadership conference.
Up for Uni Residential June 2018
Discover your society

Equality and diversity Moodle resources

We provide resources for our students and staff, including short videos, policies and news on gender equality, bias, gender roles and the gender pay gap (login required).
6th February 2019; Feel Good Festival
Discover resources

Local groups and support services

Below is a selection of the local groups and support services that work on gender-related issues.

Celebrating inclusivity

Innovating for a healthier future; Portsmouth Hospitals Trust; PHT-UoP Joint Research and Innovation Conference 2019

Annual Athena Swan Conference

Our annual Athena Swan Conference is open to all staff and focuses on gender equality and diversity at the University. At the conference, staff can get information about initiatives in progress and talk about their lived experiences and intersectionality.

Previous speakers have included Dr Deborah Gabriel, founder and director of Black British Academics, Dr Jay Stewart, CEO and co-founder of Gendered Intelligence, Daniel Guinness, founder and chair of Good Lad Initiative and Dr Anna Bull, co-founder of The 1752 Group.


Official policies and objectives

Below is a list of our policies and objectives that relate to gender equality. Can't find what you're looking for? Search all our policies and standards or contact our Equality and Diversity team at

Family friendly policies

Our Athena Swan Core Group and Self-Assessment Team ensure staff can access family-friendly entitlements.

Maternity, paternity and parental leave

All women are entitled to a maximum of 52 weeks maternity leave after giving birth (no matter how long they've been employed at the University). After adoption, one parent can also take up to 52 weeks leave. Maternity pay depends on length of service, up to a maximum of 39 weeks.

A second parent is entitled to up to two consecutive working weeks paid leave (after 26 weeks continuous employment at the University). Parents can share parental leave if the parent taking maternity or adoptive leave returns to work before the end of the 52 weeks.

Flexible working and time-off to look after dependants

We also support time off to deal with unexpected emergencies with dependants. And we offer employees the right to request flexible working, which could include working from home, flexi-time, compressed hours and working part-time.

Gender Equality Plan

The University of Portsmouth is committed to providing an inclusive environment for all staff and students and promoting an intersectional approach to equality, diversity and inclusion (ED&I). This Gender Equality Plan (GEP) stands in conjunction with the range of University policies, guidance, reports and action plans concerning gender equality. Find out more about dedicated gender equality resources, data collection and monitoring, and training as a mandatory requirement for Horizon Europe.
Gender Equality Plan (GEP)

Equality Objectives

All areas of the University have their part in taking forward these objectives and supporting the proposed outcomes.
Equality Objectives

Equality and Diversity Policy Statement

Requirements of our organisation, staff and students in delivering our commitment to equality and diversity.
Equality and Diversity Policy Statement

Gender Identity and Expression Policy

Our dedication to the inclusion of all students and staff irrespective of how they choose to define themselves with regard to their gender identity.
Gender Identity and Expression Policy

Dignity and Respect Policy

Our commitment to delivering a working and learning environment of dignity and respect, free from harassment and bullying.
Dignity and Respect Policy

Gender Pay Gap report 2021

Read our Gender Pay Gap report for 2021 to see what we are doing to close the gender pay gap.
Gender Pay Gap report 2021

Paternity guidance

Guidance for all staff on the procedures we take and pay information in the event of paternity leave.
Paternity guidance

Shared Parental Leave guidance

Guidance for all staff on how staff can take shared parental leave and pay, and the processes to follow.
Shared Parental Leave guidance

Adoption Leave Guidance

Guidance for all staff on the pay and leave entitlements when adopting a child.
Adoption Leave guidance

Reporting bullying and harassment

Our Dignity and Respect policy asks all students and staff to take personal responsibility for reporting:

  • any incidents where dignity and respect is not demonstrated
  • incidents of bullying and harassment
  • any form of discrimination that they are aware of

Report and Support tool

Staff and students can use the Report and Support tool to submit an anonymous report of bullying, harassment, assault or a hate crime, or an informal report to request an adviser.

If you witness or experience any form of harassment, bullying, violence or discrimination at Portsmouth, you can submit an anonymous report or an informal report to request an adviser. We also have a formal complaints procedure for all staff and students.

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