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Commitment to the Athena Swan Charter principles

Dear Head of Athena Swan,

On behalf of the University of Exeter, I wish to pledge my commitment to the principles of the Athena Swan Charter.

I confirm that the University of Exeter is committed to working towards the achievement of the Athena Swan Charter’s aims and I confirm our acceptance of the principles of the charter.

In committing to the principles of the Athena Swan Charter, we recognise that we join a global community with a shared goal of addressing gender inequalities and embedding inclusive cultures.

Each institution, research institute and department has different gender equality challenges and development priorities. These priorities should be developed based on an understanding of the local evidence-base and national and global gender equality issues.

In determining our priorities and interventions, we commit to:

  1. adopting robust, transparent and accountable processes for gender equality work, including:
    • embedding diversity, equity and inclusion in our culture, decision-making and partnerships, and holding ourselves and others in our institution/institute/department accountable.
    • undertaking evidence-based, transparent self-assessment processes to direct our priorities and interventions for gender equality, and evaluating our progress to inform our continuous development.
    • ensuring that gender equality work is distributed appropriately, is recognised and properly rewarded.
  2. addressing structural inequalities and social injustices that manifest as differential experiences and outcomes for staff and students.
  3. tackling behaviours and cultures that detract from the safety and collegiality of our work and study environments for people of all genders, including not tolerating gender-based violence, discrimination, bullying, harassment or exploitation.
  4. understanding and addressing intersectional inequalities.
  5. fostering collective understanding that individuals have the right to determine their own gender identity, and tackling the specific issues faced by trans and non-binary people because of their identity.
  6. examining gendered occupational segregation, and elevating the status, voice and career opportunities of any identified under-valued and at-risk groups.
  7. mitigating the gendered impact of caring responsibilities and career breaks, and supporting flexibility and the maintenance of a healthy ‘whole life balance’.
  8. mitigating the gendered impact of short-term and casual contracts for staff seeking sustainable careers.

I understand that:

  • Information on charter signatories, the institution’s charter contact person and institutional and departmental award-holders will be publicised on Advance HE’s website.

The University of Exeter has nominated Dorcas Cowan (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager, as its designated Athena Swan Charter contact. The contact will coordinate internal questions on the Charter and be the conduit for communication with Advance HE’s Equality Charter staff.

I confirm that the University of Exeter understands and accepts the guidance on the Athena Swan Charter. I understand that the guidance may change as the scheme evolves and that our charter contact will be informed of any such changes.

Yours sincerely,


Professor Lisa Roberts

Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive


Sent August 2021