We have successfully renewed our Institutional Athena SWAN Bronze Award, which recognises our longstanding commitment to advancing gender equity for staff and students as well as our commitment to the Athena SWAN Charter Principles.

The University has held a Bronze Athena SWAN Award since 2013, demonstrating our commitment to advancing gender equity for staff and students at our institution. Since our previous submission we have made good progress against our previous action plan including the establishment of our Athena Swan Peer College, where staff with experience of Athena SWAN mentor and support those who are new to the process. We have also increased the number of departments holding an award with 15 out of 18 eligible departments now holding Athena SWAN awards. In 2021, we published an additional 24 actions for the University to tackle sexual violence and misogyny and in 2022, we created our Tackling Misogyny, Harassment, Sexism, and Sexual Violence Against Women policy. This policy is the first of its kind within the UK HE sector and one that has been commended and shared by Universities UK, and we are now rolling out training for staff.

Other progress we have made is the development of key policies and guidance such as our “Approach to Supporting Trans, Non-binary and Gender Non-Conforming staff,” and further developments to our Body at Work policies through the introduction of Menopause Guidance and our Surrogacy Leave and Pay policy.

The creation of our Inclusion Champion roles, where members of our executive team act allies and advocates for marginalised groups, has proved to be beneficial. Having Inclusivity Leads in our academic departments, as well as the creation and embedding of the Inclusion Team, are all evidence of our commitment to inclusivity and ensuring all members of our community (regardless of their gender) can thrive and achieve their potential.

As the Inclusion Champion for Age, Sex, Gender, Pregnancy and Maternity, and Marriage and Civil Partnership, I am proud of the work that the SAT has done and look forward to working with them to deliver on the commitments outlined in our submission. We have identified seven key priority areas that our institutional five-year action plan is centred around. These priorities are:

  • Maintaining momentum for our Athena Swan work through effective accountability measures, as well as support for faculty and departmental Athena Swan work.
  • Advancing the career development and progression of women across the University.
  • Advancing the career development and progression of women across the University, with a particular focus on the impact of childcare and caring responsibilities.
  • Continuing to celebrate and promote gender equity across the institution through central and local events, communication, publications, imagery, language, and role models.
  • Addressing issues identified within university practices, so that these can be adapted and/or enhanced and, where applicable, be complemented by local level actions.
  • Ensuring that every staff member and student is aware of how to report inappropriate behaviour, including misogyny, microaggressions, bullying, harassment, and other forms of discrimination both as the affected party, and as a bystander. Reports to be followed-up appropriately enabling trust in the process for staff and students.
  • Continue to create an inclusive environment for trans and non-binary staff and students.

Our action plan spans five years, until our next submission, and we will now focus on implementing the actions identified and maintaining momentum on the work to ensure we have a strong channel to identify and address any emerging challenges related to gender equity as well as being able to demonstrate positive impact of our actions.

I would like to thank Dr Julie Walsh and Professor Andrew Canessa for providing leadership and steer to the Tackling Misogyny, Harassment, Sexism, and Sexual Violence Against Women in the lead up to the submission, the Inclusion team for their ongoing support, and the rest of the Self Assessment Team (SAT) for all of their contributions that have ultimately enabled us to renew our award.

You can download a copy of our action plan (.pdf).

You can read more about our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion in our online blogs and find out more about Athena SWAN on our website. Also read more about the impact that Athena SWAN has had on our institution. Students can also find support and blogs online.