Gender Equality Plan

We align with the Horizon Europe Gender Equality Plan (GEP) requirements as follows:

Required areas

1. Public document

The GEP must be a formal document published on the institution’s website, signed by the top management and actively communicated within the institution. It should demonstrate a commitment to gender equality, set clear goals and detailed actions and measures to achieve them.

We successfully renewed our Institutional Athena SWAN Bronze award in 2017, and the application can be found online. The submission and action plan were approved and endorsed by senior leaders across the institution and contain specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (smart) steps that have contributed to promoting gender equality across the institution. We will be making a submission to further renew our award in 2023.

2. Dedicated resources

GEP must have dedicated resources and expertise in gender equality to implement the plan. Organisations should consider what type and volume of resources are required to support an ongoing process of sustainable organisational change.

We have a dedicated Inclusion team that oversees institutional action plans including our gender equality action plan developed as part of our Institutional Athena SWAN submission. Heads of departments are also encouraged to support and actively engage with their departmental Athena SWAN submissions and accompanying action plans, and are encouraged to support Athena SWAN leads through their budget, workload allocation and/or any other way they are able to.

3. Data collection and monitoring

Organisations must collect sex/ gender disaggregated data on personnel (and students, for the establishments concerned) with annual reporting based on indicators. Organisations should consider how to select the most relevant indicators, how to collect and analyse the data, including resources to do so, and should ensure that data is published and monitored on an annual basis. This data should inform the GEP’s objectives and targets, indicators, and ongoing evaluation of progress.

Sex and/or gender disaggregated data is collected on staff and students across many internal processes, such as recruitment, promotion and pay for students and admissions and awards for students. This data is analysed and published as part of our Athena SWAN submission, annual EDI reports, and annual Gender Pay Gap reports.

4. Training

The GEP must also include awareness-raising and training actions on gender equality. These activities should engage the whole organisation and be an evidence-based, ongoing and long-term process. Activities should cover unconscious gender biases training aimed at staff and decision-makers and can also include communication activities and gender equality training that focuses on specific topics or addresses specific groups.

Our essential training, which is mandatory for all staff across academic and professional services, is a scenario-based training suite which covers topics including automatic bias, gender inequality, gender-based microaggressions, and the ongoing work on our institutional Athena SWAN Action Plan. Staff are required to complete this training in their first six months at the University and are required to complete an annual booster as well.

Recommended areas

1. Work-life balance and organisational culture

GEPs aim to promote gender equality through the sustainable transformation of organisational culture. Organisations should implement necessary policies to ensure an open and inclusive working environment, the visibility of women in the organisation and externally, and that the contribution of women is properly valued. Inclusive work-life balance policies and practices can also be considered in a GEP, including parental leave policies, flexible working time arrangements and support for caring responsibilities.

Actions to create and sustain cultural change are captured within our Athena SWAN Institutional Action Plan. Impacts and achievements in this area as a part of our Institutional Action Plan include: creation of a Parent Support Network and Career Development Fund for Carers and revision of our flexible working, care leave and shared parental leave policies.

2. Gender balance in leadership and decision-making

Increasing the number and share of women in leadership and decision-making positions touches upon all aspects in the GEP. Measures to ensure that women can take on and stay in leadership positions can include providing decision-makers with targeted gender training, adapting processes for selection and appointment of staff on committees, ensuring gender balance through gender quotas, and making committee membership more transparent.

Specific actions to encourage and maintain a gender balance in leadership and decision making are captured within our Athena SWAN Institutional Action Plan and are also captured in our annual pay gap reports. Actions from the Athena SWAN Plan include identifying female staff who are in grade 9/10 positions and are likely to be eligible for promotion soon, and ensuring they have access to resources to support their career development, and identifying why female academic staff are underrepresented in out Strategic and Future Leaders programmes. Through our pay gap reporting, we have identified that there is a greater concentration of women in roles at the lower end of our pay scales and men in in roles at the higher end, and this imbalance is a major contributor to our gender pay gap. We provide Departments with information about their workforce and gender pay to support them to improve this balance, with the goal to achieve at least a 60/40 gender distribution between men and women in every grade by 2025.

3. Gender equality in recruitment and career progression

Critically reviewing selection procedures and remedying any biases can ensure that women and men get equal chances to develop and advance their careers. Establishing recruitment codes of conduct, involving gender equality officers in recruitment and promotion committees, proactively identifying women in underrepresented fields and considering organisation-wide workload planning models can be important measures to consider in a GEP.

Our Recruitment and Selection Policy covers actions to ensure that women and men get equal chances to develop and advance their careers. Actions include requiring all staff involved in the recruitment process to complete training that includes unconscious bias, requiring a gender balance on selection panels, using positive action statements to address imbalances in our workforce, and monitoring and analysing the diversity of applicants and appointments to identify and address any imbalances, should they occur.

4. Integration of the gender dimension into research and teaching content

The GEP should consider how sex and gender analysis will be included in the research or educational outputs of an organisation. It can set out the organisation’s commitment to incorporating sex and gender in its research priorities, the processes for ensuring that the gender dimension is considered in research and teaching, and the support and capacity provided for researchers to develop methodologies that incorporate sex and gender analysis. Research funding and research performing organisations both have a role to play in ensuring this.

We integrate the gender dimension into our research and teaching content in a few different ways, a key one being requiring all new teaching staff to complete CADENZA which promotes inclusive practice in all areas of teaching. The University is also part of the Eastern Arc Academic Research Consortium, which aims is a collaboration between three universities to address pressing issues of our time including gender inequity.

5. Measures against gender-based violence, including sexual harassment

Organisations establishing a GEP should consider taking steps to ensure they have clear institutional policies on sexual harassment and other forms of gender-based violence. Policies should establish and codify the expected behaviour of employees, outline how members of the organisation can report instances of gender-based violence and how any such instances will be investigated and sanctions applied. They should also consider how information and support is provided to victims or witnesses and how the whole organisation can be mobilised to establish a culture of zero tolerance toward sexual harassment and violence.

Our Harassment and Bullying: Our Zero Tolerance ApproachHarassment and Bullying: Our Zero Tolerance ApproachHarassment and Bullying: Our Zero Tolerance Approach is publicly available through our Staff and Student Directory and sets out our organisational obligations and commitment to create an inclusive culture, as well as what is expected of our staff, students and any external members. The document also contains information on organisational procedures for reporting and policies for formal and informal complaints and investigations.

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