The Athena Swan Charter recognizes and celebrates good employment practice for women working in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM) in higher education and research. It aims to assist the recruitment, retention and progression of women in STEMM. Athena SWAN awards are used by Higher Education Institutions as a rating of best practice in supporting women’s careers, and they come in Bronze, Silver and Gold.
Further information can be found on the University's Athena SWAN website.
The Department’s Self-Assessment Panel completed its first submission in November 2013, ambitiously aiming for a silver award. In May 2014 we learned that Zoology was awarded a bronze SWAN award, joining Psychology, Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacology as bronze award-holders in the School. The Department was recognised for its awareness and understanding of Athena SWAN issues, but advised that more evidence of long-standing work in these areas needed to be seen.
Following this, the SWAN self-assessment panel transformed itself into a new Departmental committee, the Equalities and Wellbeing Committee. In addition to implementing the changes recommended on the action plan of the 2013 Athena SWAN submission, this committee works to raise awareness of existing equality, diversity and wellbeing initiatives and policies, and to implement new programmes when it is identified that improvements can be made to current practice.
The Equalities and Wellbeing Committee is currently working on the next submission for the November 2016 Athena SWAN application round, and is optimistic that the many, now-embedded good practice initiatives which have been introduced and sustained since 2013 will enable the department to succeed in attaining a silver Award.