A BU event explored the challenges and opportunities of applying for Athena SWAN awards.
The Athena SWAN charter is a national scheme which recognises excellence in employment of women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM) in higher education.
Principles of the charter include addressing gender inequalities, tackling unequal representation of women in science, and the absence of diversity at management and policy-making levels - with Bronze, Silver and Gold awards available.
The Athena SWAN: A Dean’s perspective event was attended by staff from across BU, including Vice-Chancellor Professor John Vinney, and external organisations.
The event featured a presentation from Professor Andrew W. Lloyd, Dean of the College of Life, Health and Physical Sciences at the University of Brighton.
Professor Lloyd, who chairs the university’s Athena SWAN Self-Assessment Steering Group, spoke about their experiences of securing an Institutional Athena SWAN Bronze Award, and the methods and approaches used.
He said: “One of my key take home messages is that I see this as an important part of driving cultural change – a catalyst for change within institutions, not just around gender issues but improving the working and studying environment for students and staff.
“I think the key thing for me is making sure that the applications that go forward are self-critical and analytical – making the institution look at itself and identifying what it does well in terms of sharing best practice, but also identifying opportunities for improvement.”
As well as Professor Lloyd’s presentation, the event also included an overview of BU’s work towards an Athena SWAN submission, and the chance for staff to participate in focus groups.
Tiantian Zhang, Head of the Graduate School and Chair of BU’s Athena SWAN institutional self-assessment team, said: “BU has committed to Athena SWAN Charter in line with our visions and values set out in BU2018.
“The Athena SWAN work at BU provides us with excellent opportunities to develop strong action plans for taking gender equality work forward, and also identifies good practices and celebrates achievements in promoting gender equality.”