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.
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.
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 practice
- supports the promotion of inclusive working practices that can increase your the retention of valued academics and professional and support staff, demonstrating your an institution’s commitment to an equitable working environment
Advance HE’s Athena Swan Charter covers all gender identities 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
Post-May 2015 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.
Transformed Athena Swan Charter principles
Transformed Charter principles were published in November 2020. Members are invited to consider and commit to these new principles ahead of submitting their first transformed charter application.
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
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.
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
Going for Gold: A Virtual Networking Event for Athena Swan Charter members
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.