speakers at front of lecture theatre

NHLI staff talk about athena SWAN

NHLI staff discuss what Athena has done for them

What is Athena SWAN?

Through Athena SWAN, NHLI aims to promote equality for all in the workplace by providing support, training and networking events. The Athena SWAN Charter and Awards enable organisations to demonstrate their commitment to, and progress on, equality and diversity by recognising advancement of gender equality, representation, progression and success for all. The NHLI is committed to promoting equality for all within the workplace and creating a diverse, inclusive and supportive working environment for all staff and students through its Athena SWAN programme. We currently hold an Athena SWAN silver award.

Advance 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. In May 2015 the charter was expanded to recognise work undertaken in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL), in professional and support roles, and for trans staff and students. The Charter now recognises work undertaken to address gender equality more broadly, and not just barriers to progression that affect women.

What have we achieved?

  • New Scientists Day initiative - a chance for those new to NHLI to present their research and network
  • NHLI Athena Lectures - launched in 2016 to increase the profile and visibility of female academics
  • Mentoring scheme - NHLI is part of the Faculty of Medicine scheme which is open to all staff and research students
  • Annual Bring Your Child to Work Day - a chance for your children to join you at work and find out more about research at NHLI
  • NHLI Foundation Travel Awards – funding for conferences and for caring costs
  • Athena SWAN embedded across NHLI activities e.g. standing item on meeting agendas
  • Support for flexible working 
  • Ensuring annual PRDP meetings are held to support career development
  • Video conferencing facilities to enable staff and students to take part in meetings remotely
  • Provision of Equality, Diversity, Harassment and Bullying workshops
  • Faculty of Medicine Ambassador for Women to help identify and encourage women to apply for key external appointments

How do I get involved?

NHLI’s Athena programme is implemented and monitored by the NHLI Equality Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee. Find out more about the NHLI Athena SWAN representatives.

For any enquiries related to NHLI’s Athena SWAN activities, please contact the NHLI EDI Committee.

NHLI applications and action plans

NHLI applications and action plans

DateAthena SWAN applicationAction planOutcome
2018 NHLI Athena Application 2018 (DOC)   Bronze award.
2017   NHLI Athena SWAN Action Plan 2017 (PDF) Silver award extended by one year. Invited to re-submit by November 2018.
2014 NHLI Athena SWAN Renewal Application 2014 (PDF) NHLI Athena SWAN Action Plan 2014 (PDF) Silver award.
2012  NHLI Athena SWAN Renewal Application 2012 (PDF)‌‌‌ NHLI Athena SWAN Action Plan 2012 (PDF) Silver award extended by one year. Invited to re-submit by April 2014.
2009 NHLI Athena SWAN Application 2009 (PDF) NHLI Athena SWAN Action Plan 2009 (PDF) Silver award.
Summary of the table's contents

ASSET survey: experiences of STEMM academics

The Athena Survey of Science, Engineering and Technology (ASSET) is a national survey that seeks to examine academics’ experiences, expectations and perceptions of gender equality in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM) disciplines and in their HE institution.

The ASSET 2016 results were published in April 2017 and can be found on the Advance HE publication webpages.

The ASSET 2016 survey covered six aspects of academics’ working life:

  • perceptions of gender equality
  • recruitment
  • job and career
  • caring responsibilities, leave and career breaks
  • training and leadership
  • promotion and development

Gender pay gap

Gender pay gap reporting has become a legal requirement for all UK organisations with 250 employees or more. Private and voluntary sector organisations also have the option of including a narrative statement alongside their gender pay gap figures, outlining the reasons behind them and the actions they are taking to close it.

In 2017 at Imperial College:
  • Women’s mean hourly rate is 19.4% lower than men’s: in other words when comparing mean hourly rates, women earn 81p for every £1 that men earn.
  • Women’s median hourly rate is 9.4% lower than men’s: in other words when comparing median hourly rates, women earn 91p for every £1 that men earn.

For more  information have a look at:

Inclusive recruitment

NHLI Recruitment Guidelines Jan 2018 (PDF) 

When advertising a post it is good to ensure that the advert appeals to a wide audience so that we have the best possible field to consider. The way adverts are written has been found to have an impact on the perceptions of potential applicants. 

For examples please see the following articles: 

An online tool has been created by Kat Matfield to determine the proportion of masculine to feminine words in a job advert (the words used are the ones from the Gaucher et al study):

What Athena SWAN means...

For you

  • Take advantage of the College flexible working policy

For your career

  • Find mentorship through the Faculty mentoring scheme

  • Learning and Development Centre

For family life