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Athena Swan Charter: Silver Award for gender equality

February 2024

We are proud to have successfully renewed our Athena Swan Charter Silver Award, as independent recognition of our continued commitment to improving gender equality for staff and students here at the University.

We’ve held an Institutional Athena Swan award since 2010, and we have continued to identify and seek to address areas of gender inequality across our community. Inclusion is built into our University Strategy - we aim to make Warwick one of the world’s exceptional universities and best in class in respect of equality, diversity, and inclusion by 2030.

The Chair of the Athena Swan self-assessment team, Professor Kate Seers from Warwick Medical School, said:

“I am delighted that our silver Athena Swan award has been renewed until 2029. We are very proud of our progress so far, recognising that there is still a lot more to do. It was a real team effort to prepare our submission, but the hard work doesn’t stop on receipt of this external recognition. The team will continue to work in collaboration with the Gender Taskforce, Social Inclusion, and the wider University to deliver our action plan over the next five years.”

Rachel Sandby-Thomas, Registrar and executive sponsor for gender equality, said:

“This is a great achievement for the Athena Swan self-assessment team and a testament to their hard work and efforts for the past five years. It is an honour to be recognised for our approach to gender equity; this is an exciting time as we raise the bar and take bold action to ensure Warwick is an inclusive place to work and study”.

What is Athena Swan?

The Athena Swan Charter is a framework aimed at supporting and transforming gender equality within higher education and research. First established in 2005, the Charter was updated in 2021 to give more autonomy and enable greater flexibility for organisations to focus on priority areas.

The five-year award is granted by Advance HE through a peer review process, with our next application for renewal due in 2029.

What are the next steps?

Professor Kate Seers: "As part of our award, we identified four key priority areas that we have committed to address to support gender progression and equality:

  1. All University departments have embedded gender equality work, and the majority of departments are working towards accreditation with Athena Swan. We’re supporting departments with this work – you can contact the teamLink opens in a new window here.

  2. To improve the amount and scope of data available to support strategic planning and to undertake regular analysis of activities and initiatives.
    We’re gathering more data and feedback from recruitment, and about the uptake of training courses. We’re making more effective use of the information we already have about schemes, such as the Academic Returners Fellowships and parental leave, and improving communication about them to increase access.

  3. To ensure there are identified progression routes for all academic and Professional Services (PS) staff and that career progression routes (for PS staff) and promoting processes (for academic staff) are inclusive and transparent.
    Our plans include raising awareness of schemes such as academic promotions and the Aurora female leadership development programme, developing coaching and mentoring further, and maintaining the momentum in closing the Gender Pay Gap.

  4. To ensure that the University is a safe working environment, including for those who identify as female, in which all staff and students are empowered to achieve their full potential and there is a demonstrable culture of valuing equity, diversity, and inclusion.
    Our work will include continuing to promote Report and Support to create greater confidence in disclosing incidents, working with the Students’ Union on sexism in sport, and developing case studies around working practices such as job shares and flexible working."

Want to know more?

You can find much more detail on these priorities in the full action plan that underpins them.

To find out more about the Athena Swan Charter, and work going on at both an Institutional and Departmental level, please visit our Athena Swan webpages.Link opens in a new window