Gender equality

The Athena SWAN Charter was originally established to help advance the careers of women in higher education and academic research in the sciences. The Athena SWAN Award now more broadly recognises and rewards work undertaken to address gender inequality in British universities. The Award is assessed by the Equality Challenge Unit.

We recognise that consideration of various factors apart from gender, including sexuality, race, ethnicity, ability, and age, is central to working towards an inclusive environment. For us, the Athena SWAN accreditation process is not an end in itself; it is instead a way of driving and measuring positive change. We believe that adopting best practice in relation to gender equality will help us to improve representation, progression and success for all.

Our application

The School of Humanities has held an Athena SWAN Bronze Award since 2014. We are preparing a renewal application. This would recognise that we have:

  • Conducted a broad and thorough self-assessment process
  • Delivered an ambitious action plan with clear rationales and verifiable targets

The School’s Athena SWAN Self-Assessment Team consists of students, academics and professional staff. It is co-chaired by the Head of School, Professor Susan Bruce and the Athena Swan Champion, Dr Kate Cushing.

Selected recent actions

  • We submitted an Independent response to the HEFCE consultation on the Research Excellence Framework‌, which makes strong points about gender equality.
  • We have argued at university level for robust gender auditing processes in our preparations for the Research Excellence Framework. 
  • We have introduced a Faculty-wide Postdoctoral Fellowship programme to support early career researchers.
  • We have introduced a workload allocation model which is automatically sensitive to gender and career stage.