Athena SWAN Gold Award
The University of Nottingham’s Faculty of Engineering is the first engineering department in the country to be awarded an Athena SWAN Gold award – an accreditation which rewards excellence in advancing gender equality across higher education and research.
In both my role as PVC for EDI and People and a proud member of the Faculty of Engineering, I am absolutely thrilled with this tremendous achievement. This gold award is as much a statement of intent as it is recognition of work done so far, and we have detailed plans in place highlighting areas in which we will be striving to achieve further excellence to maintain this coveted accreditation.
The University of Nottingham holds a Silver Athena SWAN award at an institutional level and has a number of academic departments with silver and bronze awards, but Engineering is the first at the university ever to have attracted the rare top award.
Athena SWAN is a national gender equality charter issued by the Advance HE, which recognises work to improve equality and diversity in universities and colleges.
It was established in 2005, initially to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM).
In May 2015, the charter was expanded to include arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL), and in professional and support roles, and for trans staff and students, and now recognises work undertaken to address gender equality more broadly, and not just barriers to progression that affect women.
The Athena SWAN Charter is based on ten key principles around the equality agenda. The University of Nottingham was one of the first institutions to join Athena SWAN, committing to adopting the charter’s principles within its policies, practices, action plans and culture.
A Gold award recognises significant and sustained progression and achievement in promoting gender equality, a well-established record of activity coupled with data demonstrating continued impact and those departments that champion and promote good practice to the wider community.
I am delighted we have achieved this standard, it is the work of many colleagues over a number of years. Of course this is a milestone in our work and we continue to focus upon making Nottingham a better place to work for all students and staff.
Since the last round of awards in 2014, Nottingham’s Faculty of Engineering has increased the number of women undergraduates from 25% to 28% and taken its total of women associate professors in research and teaching from 11% to 21%, while five women were recently promoted to professor
The Faculty’s work on the Technician Commitment; the EPSRC funded STEMM-CHANGE: Uncovering Barriers to Inclusivity and Transforming Institutional Culture project; and trans inclusivity were all a fundamental part of its gold-winning submission.
Making Nottingham a better place
Future plans include work to improve representation and knowledge exchange; supporting students by removing barriers in recruitment at all levels; supporting staff at all levels in preparation for promotion/regrading and identifying career development needs; and improving access to training, flexible working and uptake of parental leave.
This is a massive achievement for us following a period of honest and open reflection about what we do well and what areas we can improve upon, building upon the success of our first Silver Award in 2011 and renewal in 2014. We commit to understanding our data and identifying where we can improve representation and support for all our students and staff through our action plan taking us up to 2023. I love my discipline and I’m passionate about reducing barriers to talented people at all career stages – in three words engineering is 'changing the world'
Download our Athena SWAN Gold document
For any queries contact:
Dr Leah Ridgway
Faculty of Engineering
The University of Nottingham