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Athena SWAN

The Athena SWAN Charter is a national scheme, which was established to advance the representation of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment in higher education and research.

The charter recognised the following principles:

  • To address gender inequalities requires commitment and action from everyone, at all levels of the organisation
  • To tackle the unequal representation of women in science requires changing cultures and attitudes across the organisation
  • The absence of diversity at management and policy-making levels has broad implications which the organisation will examine
  • The high loss rate of women in science is an urgent concern which the organisation will address
  • The system of short-term contracts has particularly negative consequences for the retention and progression of women in science, which the organisation recognises
  • There are both personal and structural obstacles to women making the transition from PhD into a sustainable academic career in science, which require the active consideration of the organisation

Brunel University London was successful in demonstrating commitment to these six principles, as well as developing an action plan to address these areas. To this end, Brunel was awarded the Athena Swan Bronze award in April 2012. See a copy of our application.Athena SWAN cropped

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. Brunel is in the process of re-applying for its Bronze award.

The Charter is managed by ECU. It is funded by ECU, the Royal Society, the Biochemical Society and the Department of Health.