The Athena SWAN Charter was established in 2005 to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment in higher education and research. It has since broadened to include other disciplines and to address gender equality issues for women and men across all staff working in HE.
Athena Swan is a valuable part of the College’s efforts to improve its working culture. The College as a whole holds a silver award. DoLS currently has a bronze award but aims to improve on that in the next application which is due in 2018.
The Athena Swan Charter is based on 10 key principles – listed below – which we expect to be inform all aspects of the activities undertaken by members of the department.
The Department of Life Sciences at Imperial is committed to accepting, encouraging and promoting the following ten principles that represent the cornerstone of Athena SWAN:
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.
We proudly hold the Athena SWAN Bronze Award, renewed in 2015, and strive to provide an environment where all our students and staff feel supported. Department's Academic Opportunities Committee is providing advice and guidance to ensure that, in addition to disseminating university-wide policies, the Department is actively working to address challenges to gender equality that are particular to the discipline and will take action based on identified issues, and will seek evidence for the impact of these actions.