Skip to main content

Athena Swan

Athena Swan

Advance HE’s Athena SWAN Charter was established in 2005 to encourage and recognise the commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment in higher education and research.

In May 2015 the Charter was expanded to include arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL) departments, in addition to professional and support roles. In 2020, Advance HE launched the transformed UK Athena Swan Charter following a period of review. The Charter now recognises work undertaken to address gender equality more broadly, and not just barriers to progression that affect women.

The University of Exeter is proud to hold an institutional Athena Swan Silver Award and all our STEMM departments currently hold awards at Bronze or Silver level.

Geography renews its Athena Swan Silver Award

Geography Exeter is delighted to announce that its work towards promoting gender equality and tackling the root causes of inequalities has been recognised by Advance HE with the renewal of their Athena Swan Silver award. The Geography department first achieved the Athena Swan Silver award in April 2016 and since then they have continued to work as a community, to implement a number of significant steps towards promoting gender equality. 

The awarding panel commended Geography’s actions around career development, including the excellent writing retreats and the strategic alignment of research and education. Together with support for promotion applications, it recognises that the actions continue to have a direct and positive impact on the number of women at a senior level.

Considered effort continues to be made to grow powerful new leadership for transformative change within the department, through clear progression routes, mentoring, and improved staff participation and representation in decision making.

Head of Geography, Professor Nicola Thomas, said:  

“I am delighted to share that Geography has retained its Athena Swan Silver Award status as a result of the renewal process. I would like to mark the tremendous leadership that Prof. Jo Little has shown in building an equity facing culture in the department. This is a fantastic legacy and recognition of years of commitment and work and is exactly the platform we needed to launch our next phase of work, which will be led by incoming Directors of EDI, Prof Dunia Urrego, and Prof Saffron O’Neill. 

“Exeter Geography has been on a deep and committed transition towards a culture of equity across intersectional positions. We are now in a place where we know our challenges and areas for further work, but we also have mature practices. We are no longer ‘reactive’ but feel brave and confident in creating innovative cultures of transformation which are rapidly changing our department, and are increasingly recognised as leading within the wider Geography community.”

You can view the University of Exeter Silver Athena SWAN Action Plan 2018 here: University of Exeter Silver Athena SWAN Action Plan 2018

We always welcome feedback to help inform our progress against actions outlined in the plan. Please contact the EDI team if you have any comments or questions.

The Faculty of Environment, Science and Economy (ESE) currently holds 7 Athena Swan Awards:

The Faculty of Health and Life Sciences currently holds 3 Athena Swan Silver awards:

In May 2021, the History department became the first Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences discipline at Exeter to receive an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of their work towards gender equality. Their submission was commended for its creation of ‘Parental Leave Advocates’ within the department to provide information and support for staff on issues relating to pregnancy and parenting independently from line-managers. The History Athena Swan team is already pushing ahead with further actions relating to improving the PDR process and support for promotions, introducing a code of conduct between staff and examining ways to reduce the unequal impact of heavy workloads.