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Athena SWAN Charter

Encouraging and recognising commitment to advancing gender equality.

Advance HE membership provides access to our Accreditation packages, one of which is the Athena SWAN Charter. 

The Athena SWAN Charter is a framework which is used across the globe to support and transform gender equality within HE and research. Established in 2005 to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment,  the charter is now being used across the globe to address gender equality more broadly, and not just barriers to progression that affect women.

Athena SWAN logo

The Athena SWAN package not only includes access to the accreditation process that can result in the award of the charter,  it also includes a range of support to help institutions both enhance their practice and achieve recognition for their commitment in this area.

Being part of an internationally-recognised gender equality initiative can help your institution meet its equality legislation requirements,  as well as the requirements and expectations of some funders and research councils

Find out more about Athena Swan

Find out more about Membership to Advance HE

Advance HE Membership offers Accreditation packages including the Athena SWAN Charter, making higher education better for everyone. Choose how your institution accesses our membership.

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90% of institutional champions agreed Athena SWAN had impacted positively on gender issues (Evaluating the effectiveness and impact of Athena SWAN – 2014)

Athena SWAN Principles

The Athena SWAN Charter is based on ten key principles. By being part of Athena SWAN, institutions are committing to a progressive charter; adopting these principles within their policies, practices, action plans and culture.

  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.

There are over 160 Athena SWAN members around the world, holding over 800 awards between them. – April 2019

Benefits of Institutional Membership of the Athena SWAN Charter

Membership has a proven impact as a catalyst for change, leading to organisational and cultural transformation that makes a real difference and enables staff to achieve their maximum potential:

  • Members can apply for institutional and departmental Athena SWAN awards recognizing their gender equality efforts.
  • Helps institutions achieve their gender equality objectives
  • The Athena SWAN Charter framework allows institutions to identify areas for positive action as well as recognise and share good practice.
  • Being part of an internationally-recognised gender equality initiative can help your institution meet its equality legislation requirements, as well as the requirements and expectations of some funders and research councils.
  • Promoting inclusive working practices can increase your retention of valued academics and professional and support staff, demonstrating your institution’s commitment to an equitable working environment.

Athena SWAN Charter members are able to:

+ Submit for institutional level Athena SWAN Charter awards.
+ Access resources and publications to support award submissions.
+ Attend workshop to help prepare for an award.
+ Become part of a national and regional peer support and practice-sharing network.
+ Access Charter-specific advice and guidance.
+ Use Athena SWAN logos to highlight your commitment gender equality.