Athena SWAN Bronze Award renewed

Issue date: 06 October 2017

The University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) has had its Athena SWAN Bronze accreditation renewed.

The standards to reach the Athena SWAN Bronze award have been revised and made significantly more challenging since 2015.

Athena SWAN is an equality charter which acknowledges success in the promotion of gender equality within Higher Education. It was formally launched in 2005, with the objective to promote women's careers in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Medicine) subjects. In 2015, the charter was expanded to challenge gender inequality more broadly, focusing on gender parity in all disciplines. Additionally, it now considers professional staff careers and addresses experiences of transgender staff and students. With the expansion of the scheme, significant attention is placed on the intersection of inequalities and specifically the disadvantages experienced by black and minority ethnic female staff.

The award showcases the sustained commitment of UWE Bristol to achieve gender equality and is testament to the hard work and dedication of the Athena SWAN Steering Group to detect existing challenges and set clear and achievable objectives for the next four years.

Professor Steve West, Vice-Chancellor at UWE Bristol, said: “The Athena SWAN Bronze Award is a fantastic achievement and is testimony to the hard work of many people involved in presenting the evidence and case so well. More than that is the fact it represents the commitment and determination of us all to ensure that we support all staff to achieve the full potential and are actively encouraged and rewarded. I am very proud of our achievements to date to build an inclusive environment and this award is justly deserved.”

Preparation for the application included a series of staff consultation sessions, as well as extensive data collection on gender and ethnicity across all faculties. As part of the self-assessment process, the Athena SWAN Steering Group scrutinised current policies, procedures and aspects of organisational culture and developed a four year action plan. Through this series of actions, the University aims to address current issues such as progression of women to senior roles, clarity and implementation of current policies and further embedding gender equality into the core of our strategy and work.

Dr Jackie Rogers and Dr Catherine Hobbs, co-leaders of Athena Swan for the University, said: “The Athena Swan Bronze award is a great achievement for UWE Bristol. We would like to thank the self-assessment team which included staff from all the faculties and professional services and provided a rich and insightful platform to assess UWE Bristol's work on gender equality. We know that there is a lot more work to do and working with colleagues we are confident we can deliver our ambitious action plan and work towards a silver award in 2021.”

UWE Bristol will be a Bronze award holder until April 2021. The award will be officially presented in a ceremony at the University of Glasgow on 4 December 2017.

UWE Bristol has already achieved Bronze Awards for the departments of Applied Sciences, Nursing and Midwifery & Applied Health Professions and Engineering Design and Mathematics.

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