An introduction to the Athena SWAN charter
The Athena SWAN charter was introduced in 2005. It emerged by to promote the advancement of Women in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Medicine and Mathematics) subjects. Keele University has signed up to the Athena SWAN charter, and is committed to promoting gender equality across these traditionally male-dominated careers.
The associated Athena SWAN award scheme recognises excellence in supporting the careers of women in STEMM subjects at both the institute and departmental level. Athena SWAN awards recognise excellence and promote best practises in UK-based institutes, with an end goal of promoting widespread changes in working environments to support the career development of women in STEMM. A recent independent evaluation of the Athena SWAN charter by researchers from Loughborough University has demonstrated that taking part in this scheme has made a positive impact on the workplace environment for women across the UK.
Athena SWAN awards can be awarded at bronze, silver and gold levels. Bronze is awarded to those institutes and departments who have performed an analysis of gender equality and have devised an achievable action plan to combat issues identified. Silver awards require the schools to demonstrate that the action plan has been implemented and elicited significant improvements in gender equality. A gold award requires departments to demonstrate that their actions have had a wider impact externally beyond their own walls.
The School of Medicine was awarded a Bronze award in 2013 for their joint submission with the Institute for Science and Technology in Medicine. The school of medicine is now working independently in preparing a Silver award application, as we try to demonstrate the improvements that have been made throughout the school.