The University is committed to the advancement of women in science

University granted bronze Athena SWAN award

Following the University’s membership of the Athena SWAN Charter which began in 2011, it was delighted this year to receive the Bronze university award, recognising that the University has a solid foundation for eliminating gender bias and developing an inclusive culture that values all staff.

The Athena SWAN Charter is a scheme which highlights excellence in Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) employment in higher education.  The Charter was launched in June 2005.  Any university or research institution which is committed to the advancement and promotion of the careers of women in SET in higher education and research can apply for membership.
The Athena SWAN Charter awards, which have been running since 2006, recognise the commitment of institutions and SET departments to addressing gender inequalities, to tackling the unequal representation of women in science and to improving career progression for female academics.

Stephen Cooper, Director of Human Resources said “The advancement of science, engineering and technology (SET) is fundamental to quality of life across the globe; it is therefore vitally important that women are adequately represented in what has traditionally been, and is still, a male-dominated area. Science cannot reach its full potential unless it can benefit from the talents of the whole population, and until women and men can benefit equally from the opportunities it affords.”

Professor Dame Julia Higgins, the Athena SWAN patron commented “I have been involved in the Athena SWAN Charter since its inception, and very much involved in the Athena project from which it sprang. The numbers of female academics have grown a lot since Athena was set up around a decade ago, but the numbers are still too small - up from between one and two per cent of professors to around 12 per cent now. More importantly the senior women are much more visible, and vocal. However, good practice is still hugely variable across and also within universities and the way Athena SWAN allows departments to measure themselves against the best has turned out to be an inspired way of motivating communities.

“The business case for obtaining Athena SWAN awards becomes clearer every year and the success of the scheme is evidenced by the growing numbers of Charter members. I am proud to be Athena SWAN patron and look forward to the continuing success of the scheme in supporting diversity in academia.”

The awards were presented at a reception at the University of Birmingham on 3 May 2012.

Date: 17 April 2012

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