Athena SWAN

What is Athena SWAN?

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.

 Athena Swan Bronze Award logo

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, Dr Tim Lustig 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. 

 In September 2017, the School conducted a survey of all academic and professional staff.  Here are the anonymous responses, separated by gender.

Athena SWAN Staff Survey Female Responses

Athena SWAN Staff Survey Male Responses

In April 2018, the School conducted a survey of all academic and professional staff around the issue of sexual harassment.  Here are the anonymous responses, separated by gender.

Female Responses - Sexual Harassment Survey

Male Responses - Sexual Harassment Survey

Information and contact

If there are specific gender-related issues which you would like to be raised for review, and for further information on our past, current and future actions, please contact Kate Cushing,, Athena Swan Champion or Hannah Barjat,, Athena SWAN Support Officer at Keele.