The School of Informatics has achieved its second Athena SWAN Silver Award for supporting women in science.
Athena SWAN encourages and recognises commitment to advancing the careers of women in science in higher education and research.
In 2013 the School won its first Athena SWAN Silver Award, with an application led by Professor Jane Hillston. As each award is valid for three years, the School applied for renewal in April 2016, with a submission led by Professor Mirella Lapata, supported by the Informatics Equality and Diversity Committee and other colleagues.
Head of School Professor Johanna Moore says,
“We are delighted that our application has again proved successful. In recent years we have seen significant increases in the number of women in our student body and an increased proportion of women among our professoriate.
“Although there remain challenges in achieving and maintaining a more equitable gender balance throughout the School, we have set ourselves ambitious targets and clear and specific actions which we are confident will further increase the representation of women across all measures.”
At the time of application, the proportion of our female undergraduates had increased steadily from 15.3% in 2011 to 21.73% in 2015, outstripping the national trend. At postgraduate level, 29.2% of our taught postgraduates and 18.8% of our full-time research students were female. Initial indications are that numbers are still growing, with 22.4% undergraduates, 30.4% taught MSc and 18.6% postgraduate research students who are women, including the current intake. Eight of our 41 professors are women and, overall, 19.4% of our academic and research staff are female.
Edinburgh is one of 132 universities and research institutes which are members of the Athena SWAN Charter, established by the Equality Challenge Unit in 2005 to support the advancement of women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM) in higher education and research.
When the School re-applies again, in 2019, the criteria will be broader. In 2015 the charter was expanded to recognise work undertaken in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL), and in professional and support roles, and for trans staff and students. The charter now recognises work undertaken to address gender equality more broadly, and not just barriers to progression that affect women.