The College of Human and Health Sciences celebrates being recognised with a Silver Athena SWAN award for gender equality improvement.

The College has received a Silver Award from the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU), with a celebration event being held to thank and reward colleagues for their continued commitment to improving the gender equality within the College.

Athena Swan Silver Celebration 1The event was a resounding success, with many colleagues attending to enjoy the refreshments and sweet treats available, with Professor Joy Merrell on hand to discuss the great work that has been completed to date. Professor Merrell also outlined the planned actions going ahead to ensure the College maintains its high standards and can aim for the next step in the awards, Extended Silver.

The College is just the second department in the University to achieve the Silver Award. Winning the award means that the College of Human and Health Sciences ‘recognises a solid foundation for eliminating gender bias and developing an inclusive culture that values all staff’, according to Athena SWAN guidelines.

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

'Address gender equality'

In May 2015 the charter was expanded to recognise work undertaken in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL), and in professional and support roles, and for trans staff and students. The charter now recognises work undertaken to address gender equality more broadly, and not just barriers to progression that affect women.

ECU’s Athena SWAN Charter covers women (and men where appropriate) in:

  • Academic roles in STEMM and AHSSBL
  • Professional and support staff
  • Trans staff and students

In relation to their:

  • Representation progression of students into academia
  • Journey through career milestones
  • Working environment for all staff

'Highly significant' 

Swansea University is committed to promoting gender equality, and has been a proud member of the Athena SWAN Charter since 2008. The University was first awarded a Bronze Award in 2009, and further achieved a second Bronze Award in April 2013.

Professor Ceri Phillips, head of the College of Human and Health Sciences, said: The College is delighted to be awarded the Athena SWAN Silver Award in recognition of its commitment to gender equality and endeavouring to secure appropriate representation, progression and success for all its staff. It is a reward for all colleagues within the College, but special mention must be given to the dedication and commitment of Professor Joy Merrell and her team within the College, to ensuring that the principles underpinning gender equality are at the forefront of the College’s strategic and operational agendas”.

Professor Hilary Lappin-Scott, Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and External Recognition) and Chair of the Athena SWAN Strategy Group at Swansea University, added: “This highly significant award for our College of Human and Health Sciences demonstrates the College’s improved performance in gender equality and the University’s continued upward momentum through external recognition of our achievement.

Joining the Athena SWAN Charter helps create positive change in an organisation – so that we all feel we can fulfil our own potential. Now that both the College of Human and Health Sciences and Swansea University Medical School have achieved a silver Athena SWAN award, I hope that it will encourage and inspire our other departments to aim high”.