Four academic units at the University of Southampton have received Athena SWAN (Scientific Women Academic Network) awards for their work to improve gender equality.
Chemistry, and Physics and Astronomy received Athena SWAN Silver awards, while Ocean and Earth Sciences, and Mathematical Sciences picked up Athena SWAN Bronze recognition. Bronze awards mean a department has ‘made good progress against their action plans and continue to demonstrate their commitment to gender equality’, while a Silver award indicates that an academic unit has been judged to have ‘made a meaningful improvement to the representation of and opportunities for women to progress in academic careers’.
Altogether, the University of Southampton’s faculties and academic units now have four Silver and five Bronze Athena awards, the other departments previously earning recognition being Biological Sciences, the Faculty of Engineering and the Environment, the Faculty of Health Sciences, the Faculty of Medicine, and Geography and the Environment.
The university as a whole also received the Athena SWAN institutional Silver award 2 years ago.
Commenting on Chemistry’s receiving of a Silver renewal award in the university’s press release (the department previously won the award in 2015) Professor Gill Reid, Head of Chemistry, said:
I am both delighted and proud that Chemistry at Southampton has been successful in receiving an Athena SWAN Silver Award for the second time – becoming the first department in the University to renew this award. This really testifies to the values around equality, diversity and inclusion that we hold in Chemistry.
The Athena SWAN charter was established in 2005 by the organisation Equality Challenge Unit. While the organisation as a whole works towards supporting universities and colleges to develop ‘an inclusive culture that values the benefits of diversity’, the charter specifically seeks to encourage and recognise commitment to improving employment opportunities for women in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Medicine) subjects in higher education and research.
AdvanceHE, the higher education development organisation, oversees the awards scheme, with each application peer reviewed by academics and equality professionals from other Athena SWAN institutions.
In March, the university published its 2017 Equal Pay Review, which found that across the institution men and women are being paid similar wages for work of the same value. However, concurrently, under an amendment to the Equality Act 2010, the university was also required to publish details of its Gender Pay Gap.
The gap was found to be 20.2%, highlighting room for further progress to be made in the future for improving gender equality.