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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.

Five departments at the University of Exeter have been recognised for their commitment to gender equality in the latest Athena Swan Charter Awards round.

The Athena Swan Charter recognises work undertaken by institutions in the United Kingdom to address gender equality across the higher education sector. The University of Exeter holds an institutional Athena Silver Swan Award for demonstrating meaningful contribution to this cause.

The latest departmental awards are in addition to a string of Athena Swan awards held across faculties at Exeter, following on from success for Physics and Astronomy and Geography in renewing their Silver awards last year. Silver status was conferred jointly on the department of Health and Care Professions and the University of Exeter Medical school, while the Ecology and Conservation department retained their silver rating. The departments of Engineering and Earth and Environmental Sciences also maintained their bronze rating. These departments will hold their respective status until December 2026.

The new awards mean that all the departments within the University’s Faculty of Health and Life Sciences now hold an Athena Swan silver award. Also, the Faculty of Environment, Science and Economy currently holds seven Athena Swan awards, and the Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences hold one Athena Swan Bronze Award.

The University of Exeter is proud to hold an institutional Athena Swan Silver Award. You can view our 2024 Athena Swan Silver application (PDF) online.

Our Gender Equality Group will monitor progress on our gender equality action plan 2024-28 (PDF).

Please contact our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion team ( if you have any feedback, comments or questions.

All our Faculty of Environment, Science and Economy (ESE) departments currently hold Athena Swan awards at Bronze or Silver level:

All departments in the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences hold an Athena Swan Silver award:

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.

Six other departments are currently working on Athena Swan Bronze applications: 

  • English and Creative Writing
  • Politics (as a discipline)
  • Law School
  • Humanities and Social Sciences, Cornwall
  • School of Education
  • Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies