The Athena Swan Charter is a framework which is used across the globe to support and transform gender equality within higher education (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.
Advance HE members can apply for institutional and departmental Athena Swan awards recognising their gender equality efforts.
93% of Champions believed that the Charter has had a positive impact on gender issues in their university, department or research institute.
The Athena Swan Charter:
- helps institutions achieve their gender equality objectives
- assists institutions to meet equality legislation requirements, as well as the requirements and expectations of some funders and research councils
- uses a targeted self-assessment framework to support applicants identify areas for positive action as well as recognise and share good practices
- supports the promotion of inclusive working practices that can increase your retention of valued academics and professional and support staff, demonstrating your institution’s commitment to an equitable working environment.
Advance HE’s Athena Swan Charter covers women (and men where appropriate) in:
• professional, managerial and support staff roles
In relation to their:
• progression of students into academia
• journey through career milestones
• working environment for all staff.
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, practice, action plans and culture.
- We acknowledge that academia cannot reach its full potential unless it can benefit from the talents of all.
- 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.
- 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)
- We commit to tackling the gender pay gap.
- 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.
- We commit to addressing the negative consequences of using short-term contracts for the retention and progression of staff in academia, particularly women.
- We commit to tackling the discriminatory treatment often experienced by trans people.
- 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.
- 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.
- All individuals have identities shaped by several different factors. We commit to considering the intersection of gender and other factors wherever possible.
Athena Swan guidance and FAQs
To make it easier for you to find everything you need, we have moved our guidance, templates and good practice examples to support your Athena Swan Charter award submission into an easily downloadable information pack. Just fill in the form below and we will send you an email with everything you'll need.
We also have an extensive FAQs section which contains answers to commonly raised questions about all aspects of Athena Swan, from submitting your application to results.