Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Athena Swan Silver Charter award to 2022

November 2018.


The University has retained its Silver Athena Swan Charter Mark in the 2018 submission round. The charter mark is an important indicator of work undertaken to address gender equality in academia and professional and support roles.

Two departments also secured awards – with Politics and International Studies (PAIS) receiving a Bronze Award and the School of Life Sciences progressing from a Bronze to a Silver Award.

Professor Pam Thomas, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) and Chair of the University’s Athena Swan Self-Assessment Team commented

“Whilst retaining silver is extremely welcome, this has involved a significant level of additional work as we have experienced the goal-posts for the Charter Mark moving from consideration only of the academy in STEMM subjects (2013 Silver Award) to the whole University staff community by 2018.

I would like to thank colleagues on the institutional Self-Assessment Team (SAT) from across the University for their hard work and support and, likewise, those on their Departmental SATs. We have an Action Plan for the University that we'll need to take forward under the award and I do hope we can count on your support and advocacy for this too.

This has been a great team effort throughout the many months of endeavour and has shown that Academic and Professional Services staff from across the University and student representatives can work very effectively and successfully together on initiatives such as Athena.”

What is Athena Swan?

The Athena Swan Charter evolved from work between the Athena Project and the Scientific Women’s Academic Network (Swan) to advance the representation of women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM). The Charter was officially launched in 2005, with the first awards conferred in 2006.

In 2015, the scope of the Athena Swan Charter was expanded to cover gender equality in arts, humanities, social sciences, business, and law (AHSSBL), and to recognise work undertaken to address gender equality more broadly, not just barriers to progression that affect women.

The Charter is based on ten key principles:

  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. In this 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.

Warwick’s engagement with Athena Swan

By being part of Athena Swan, Warwick is committing to a progressive charter; adopting the principles within our policies, practices, action plans and culture.

We achieved our first award in 2009 – the Department of Physics achieved a Silver award, followed by a Bronze institutional award.

Many of our participating departments have found the process extremely useful to critically analyse their staff and student data, and the processes and procedures they use to advance gender equality.

You can read more about Athena Swan here.