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Athena Swan Charter

Encouraging and recognising commitment to advancing gender equality.

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.

Please note: the Athena Swan UK Charter framework recently underwent a transformation to ensure its suitability for the future of the higher education sector. The new framework, referred to as the Transformed Charter, can be used by new and existing members. Athena Swan Charter practitioners may continue working with the Post-May 2015 framework until November 2022.

Find out more about our transformed UK Athena Swan Charter

Click the link below to be taken to the extensive range of resources and guidance we have available on the new Charter framework.

Find out more

Diversity monitoring data and the UK Athena Swan Charter

We have revised our data monitoring guidance to give more clarity when collecting data that relates to sex as a protected characteristic and the Equality Act 2010, and when collecting data for work to create a wider inclusive culture.

93% of Champions believe that the Charter has had a positive impact on gender issues in their university, department or research institute.

Advance HE’s Athena Swan Charter covers all gender identities in:

• academic roles in STEMM and AHSSBL
• professional, managerial and support staff roles

In relation to their:

• representation
• 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.

Your commitment to the Athena Swan Charter principles

Download and complete this letter to be printed on your institution/department/directorate/institute’s headed paper and return to Athena.Swan@advance-he.ac.uk

Download
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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 need. 

We have an extensive FAQs section which contains answers to commonly raised questions about all aspects of Athena Swan, from submitting your application to results. 

We also have an extensive FAQs section on the transformed UK Athena Swan Charter.

Athena Swan and Advance HE Membership

In the UK Advance HE Membership provides access to Athena Swan. Choose how to access our membership.

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Events

Advance HE are hosting a number events to inform and guide members on the transformed UK Athena Swan Charter. You can book onto events below and also watch recordings of previous events. 

Enhancing Good Practice event: Intersectionality in Practice

This joint Athena Swan and Race Equality Charter event aimed to stimulate debate and increase understanding on what it means to work intersectionally in Higher Education (HE) and to explore experiences on embedding intersectionality principles in different HE contexts.

Going for Gold: A Virtual Networking Event for Athena Swan Charter members

This networking event on 22 June aimed to support Athena Swan (AS) leads/ SAT members in departments that currently hold either a Silver or Gold award and who are considering applying for, or renewing, a Gold award for their next submission. Staff that support departmental EDI/AS work, or who are leading or supporting Institutional SATs in Universities or Research Institutes that are planning gold submissions also participated.  

A panel of current Athena Swan Gold award holders shared their experience: Dr Leonie Jones, Employability and Diversity Officer, Department of Chemistry, University of York; Rob De Bruin, Professor of Molecular Cancer Biology at the Medical Research Council Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology, University College London (UCL); and Siobhan Dorai-Raj, EDI Advisor, John Innes Centre. 

The event provided a welcome opportunity for informal networking as well as sharing of initiatives and ideas on developing sector leading gender equality activity, supporting others and evidencing sustained success.  
Recording coming soon

Enhancing Practice: Shared Parental Leave and Breastfeeding Practices in UK Higher Education Institutions

This workshop on 22 March 2022 disseminated research findings on a study conducted by academics from York St John University and examined Shared Parental Leave and Breastfeeding Practices in UK Higher Education Institutions.
Recording coming soon

University and Department introduction to the transformed UK Athena Swan Charter

Advance HE hosted an online dissemination event on Friday 30 July 2021 for University and Department practitioners.
Watch the recording

Research Institute introduction to the transformed UK Athena Swan Charter

Advance HE hosted an online dissemination event on Monday 9 August 2021 for Research Institute practitioners.
Watch the recording

Professional, Technical and Operational Directorate practitioners introduction to the transformed UK Athena Swan Charter

Advance HE hosted an online dissemination event on Tuesday 10 August 2021 for Professional, Operational, and Technical (PTO) Directorates.
Watch the recording
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More about Athena Swan

Remote Developmental Review

We provide universities and research institutes the opportunity to receive feedback on a draft organisation-level application for free once per five-year cycle.
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Applying for an Athena Swan Charter award

Transform gender equality in your institution through an Advance HE Athena Swan award.
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Research institutes

Athena Swan in research institutes.
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Good Practice Initiatives

Athena Swan good practice initiatives in higher education institutions.
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FAQs

Frequently asked questions about the Athena Swan Charter in the UK.
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Patrons

Bringing their academic expertise and backgrounds in gender equality to support and champion the Athena Swan Charter principles.
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The transformed UK Athena Swan Charter

New and existing applicants can apply to work towards the enhanced version of the Charter from 30th of June 2021.
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The new panel for the transformed UK Athena Swan Charter

As part of the new Charter transformation there was revised roles for panel members.
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Gender Advancement for Transforming Institutions

Call for UK Athena Swan members to partner with Indian higher education institutions and research institutes on an exciting new project
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Athena Swan Charter review

More information about the review of the Athena Swan charter in the UK.
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Charter participants

Institutional participants and the awards that they hold.
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Interested in finding out more about the transformed UK Athena Swan Charter?

An extensive range of resources and guidance are available on the new Charter framework.

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For an information pack and resources, please see the transformed UK Athena Swan charter here.