The Department of Aeronautics has received the bronze Athena SWAN award for its continued progress towards gender equality in higher education.
This is the second time the Department has received a bronze award for its support of women in higher education, having first received the award in 2015. The latest award is valid until November 2023.
Dr Maria Ribera Vicent, Teaching Fellow and the Department’s Athena SWAN lead says: “We’re absolutely delighted to receive this award! It is great to receive recognition for all of our hard work and the steps we are taking towards gender equality.”
Among the changes brought in by the Department are compulsory training in unconscious bias, as well as active bystander training. Measures have been introduced to reduce or eliminate gender bias from recruitment and promotion processes, while maternity pay has been extended to PhD students, so that mothers are supported across the Department whether students or staff.
In terms of outreach, the Department has arranged activities to bring engineering to secondary school girls, and has increased activities to boost the visibility of women in Aeronautics (such as specially arranged talks with women in industry, and profiles of female staff and students on the Department’s website).
The Department’s Equality, Diversity, Culture, Communications and Inclusion (EDCCI) Committee has expanded to include representation across all job families and all student groups. Students and staff are encouraged to contact representatives on the Committee so that matters relating to equality, diversity and inclusion can be discussed at Committee meetings.
In the time since its previous award, the Department of Aeronautics has also seen a significant increase in female undergraduate students, with female students accounting for 27% of 2019-2020’s first-year intake.
Dr Ribera Vicent, who teaches on the Computing and Numerical Methods 1 and Aerodynamics undergraduate modules, adds “Our industry has been historically male-dominated, but the number of female students and female staff in the Department has been progressively increasing in recent years, which is so encouraging”.
“Finally, I want to thank my team at the Equality, Diversity, Culture, Communications and Inclusion Committee for their efforts in preparing our application over the past year, but also all the Department of Aeronautics for embracing the change in culture and making it a place where everybody can thrive and succeed regardless of gender or background.”
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