The School is proud to hold an Athena SWAN Silver Award
The Athena SWAN Charter was established in 2005 to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment in higher education research. It is an initiative of th Equality Challenge Unit (ECU), which works to further support equality and diversity for staff and students in higher education institutions across all four nations of the UK and in colleges in Scotland.
The School was awarded a Silver Award in 2016, following on from a Bronze award received in 2013.
Athena SWAN department level awards recognise that in addition to university-wide policies the school is working to promote gender equality and to address challenges particular to the discipline. The Award highlights the school's commitment to advancing women's careers and will provide impetus for further improvements.
Our current Silver Award was led by Dr Niamh Shortt, assisted by a School wide Athena SWAN Self Assessment team. It has helped us bring Equality and Diversity, and gender equality in particular, to centre-stage of the School's working environment. It has helped us both celebrate achievements and recognise and take action in areas requiring further improvement. Applying for the Award meant the School undertook a wide ranging Self Assessment exercise, looking at all aspects of the role of women as both students and staff within the School, including representation, progression of students in academia, journeys through career milestones, and working environment for all staff.
Since receiving our first Bronze Award and our subsequent Silver Award, the School has been focussed on raising awareness of Athena SWAN and gender equality issues throughout the School. This includes for example, unconscious bias training, career coaching and ensuring gender balance on interview panels. We have hosted a range of events including career paths in academia and the Women in Science and Engineering Day which has included several high profile speakers including Laura Bates (founder of the Everyday Sexism website) and Dame Professor Athene Donald.
The 2016 Award includes a comprehensive action plan over three years identifying a very wide range of actions the School will take to promote the role of women in science and technology subjects.