Athena SWAN Bronze Award logoAdvance HE’s 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. We are proud to be a Department that puts equality and diversity at the heart of everything we do, and as an Athena SWAN Bronze Award holder we continue to develop and drive initiatives that support gender equality. 

We are committed to achieving and upholding the Athena SWAN Charter Principles:

  1. Embedding diversity, equity and inclusion in our culture, decision-making and partnerships, and holding ourselves and others in our institution/institute/department accountable.
  2. Undertaking evidence-based, transparent self-assessment processes to direct our priorities and interventions for gender equality, and evaluating our progress to inform our continuous development.
  3. Ensuring that gender equality work is distributed appropriately, is recognised and properly rewarded.
  4. Addressing structural inequalities and social injustices that manifest as differential experiences and outcomes for staff and students.
  5. Tackling behaviours and cultures that detract from the safety and collegiality of our work and study environments for people of all genders, including not tolerating gender-based violence, discrimination, bullying, harassment or exploitation.
  6. Understanding and addressing intersectional inequalities
  7. Fostering collective understanding that individuals have the right to determine their own gender identity, and tackling the specific issues faced by trans and non-binary people because of their identity
  8. Examining gendered occupational segregation, and elevating the status, voice and career opportunities of any identified under-valued and at-risk groups
  9. Mitigating the gendered impact of caring responsibilities and career breaks, and supporting flexibility and the maintenance of a healthy ‘whole life balance’
  10. Mitigating the gendered impact of short-term and casual contracts for staff seeking sustainable careers.

Our Athena SWAN action plan

Committee best practice

  • Continue to embed the Computing Equality, Diversity and Culture Committee (EDCC) within the structure of the department.
  • Implement all college EDI policies as soon as they are released.
  • Include representation of admissions teams on EDCC.
  • Before each academic year ensure that at least 20% of the EDCC committee is new.
  • Increase the percentage of women on department committees to at least 30%.
  • Invite undergraduate representation (wellbeing representatives and student societies) to sit on the EDCC.

Organisation, training & culture

  • Use results from the Imperial College Staff Survey to inform on problems, find ways of resolving them, and determine if previous problems have been resolved
  • Provide unconscious bias training to students
  • Provide unconscious bias training and best practice guidelines for all members of staff involved in hiring decisions
  • All academics to have both unconscious bias training and interview training.
  • Extend flexible working to support staff.
  • Review support structures to ensure that they are fit for purpose.
  • To have a woman ambassador, who is available for (confidential) advice to all women staff and who is a professor.
  • Support the Women in Computing (WiC) group to grow its membership and become self-sustainable.
  • Produce menopause guidance informs College practice.
  • Produce a no-detriment policy to support staff during Covid (particularly around progression and promotion) which informs College practice.

Key career transition points

  • Develop an induction package and increase online information for all staff.
  • Follow up all women who were offered academic positions to understand why they accepted/rejected our offer.
  • Hire a Teaching Fellow with responsibility for Outreach
  • Improve the pipeline between PhD applications and admissions.
  • Increase the percentage of women shortlisted for academic posts to at least 30%.
  • Increase the number of women applicants to research posts.
  • Track postdocs after leaving to know what percentage stay in research.
  • Ensure every appointments panel for academics interviews at least one woman.

Career development

  • Ensure no pay differential due to gender.
  • Increase the percentage of women academics to at least 25%.
  • Support College redesign of the PRDP form via Department Operations Manager participation in redesign group.
  • College produces a career profile for Teaching Fellows that gives them natural career progression.

Student enrolment & progression

  • Test the hypothesis that UCAS application forms contain gender bias, applying machine learning classification techniques to investigate this.
  • Increase the percentage of undergraduate women students accepted to at least 20%.
  • Offer at least 5000 outreach sessions to schoolgirls.
  • Increase the percentage of women PhD applicants.
  • Monitor impact of Brexit on patterns of applications.
  • Take more note of language used in applications and references
  • Support the CDT board in devising action points that will lead to more female CDT PhD students.
  • Track taught course graduates to learn what percentage start a PhD.
  • Develop an MSc admissions policy to improve upon and replace existing processes.
  • Invest in advertising our postgraduate taught (PGT) programmes more widely to attract more women and diverse groups (e.g., WES, WISE)
  • To increase the percentage of women studying at PGT/MSc level to (at least) 20%
  • A review of current PhD admissions and interview processes to identify and address potential sources of bias.