Tackling the unequal representation of women

Image of woman giving lecture

Swansea University is committed to promoting gender equality, and has been a proud member of the Athena SWAN Charter since 2008. We are proud to hold a Silver Institutional Award.

Athena SWAN

The Athena SWAN Charter is a scheme run by the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU), which recognises advancement of gender equality in terms of representation, progression and success for all.

The Charter, which was established in 2005 initially focused on Science, Technology, Engineering, Medicine and Mathematics (STEMM) academia only, and was expanded in April 2015 to all subject areas, for all staff (in academic and professional services roles) and for trans staff and students.

The ten Athena SWAN principles are:

  1. We acknowledge that academia cannot reach its full potential unless it can benefit from the talents of all.
  2. We commit to advancing gender equality in academia, in particular, addressing the loss of women across the career pipeline and the absence of women from senior academic, professional and support roles.
  3. We commit to addressing unequal gender representation across academic disciplines and professional and support functions. Inthis we recognise disciplinary differences including:
    • the relative underrepresentation of women in senior roles in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL)
    • the particularly high loss rate of women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM)
  4. We commit to tackling the gender pay gap.
  5. We commit to removing the obstacles faced by women, in particular, at major points of career development and progression including the transition from PhD into a sustainable academic career.
  6. We commit to addressing the negative consequences of using short-term contracts for the retention and progression of staff in academia, particularly women.
  7. We commit to tackling the discriminatory treatment often experienced by trans people.
  8. We acknowledge that advancing gender equality demands commitment and action from all levels of the organisation and in particular active leadership from those in senior roles.
  9. We commit to making and mainstreaming sustainable structural and cultural changes to advance gender equality, recognising that initiatives and actions that support individuals alone will not sufficiently advance equality.
  10. All individuals have identities shaped by several different factors. We commit to considering the intersection of gender and other factors wherever possible.

More information about the Charter can be found here

The Process

Membership of the Charter has bronze, silver and gold awards that help Universities work towards sustaining equitable working environments. Once a University has its own award, departments are eligible to apply for their own individual awards. Joining the charter helps create positive change in an organisation. There are two submission deadlines each year; 30th April and 30th November. The process largely involves a self-analysis of the University/department by a Self-Assessment Team (SAT), involving analysis of quantitative and qualitative data over a minimum of three years. 

Athena SWAN at Swansea University

Swansea University was first awarded a Bronze award in 2009, which was renewed in April 2013. We were successful in applying for a Silver award in November 2017. Our submission can be viewed here: Swansea University Athena SWAN Silver Application 

All of our STEMM Colleges have their own individual awards and our College of Arts and Humanities are waiting for the result of their submission. More information can be found at the section below titled 'Athena SWAN in our Colleges.' 

Get Involved!

We are always looking for dedicated and enthusiastic staff and students to participate in our Athena SWAN activities

Athena SWAN in our Colleges

The College of Arts and Humanities

The College of Arts and Humanities established a Self-Assessment Team, led by Heidi Waddington. The College has submitted their application for a Bronze department award, and is currently awaiting the result.

For more information about Athena SWAN in the College, please email Heidi.

School of Management

The School of Management are in the process of establishing a Self-Assessment Team, which will be led by Emma Lydiard-Jenkins. The School will then begin putting together their submission for Bronze department award in 2018

Hilary Lappin-Scott: Why we need more women in STEM (Tedx)