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Women in HE Conference 2021

Athena Swan transformation

In April 2018, Advance HE commissioned a review of the Athena Swan Charter in the UK, recognising the need for it to be fit for the future, while maintaining rigour and credibility, and reducing the administrative workload for applicants.

Advance HE has begun the developmental work to deliver a holistically transformed Charter by early 2021. Additionally, since the publication of the independent review of Athena Swan, we have identified specific, short-term changes which can be made immediately; for example, the immediate extension of all future awards to five years, and an automatic one-year extension for all existing award-holders.

Athena Swan Charter

The Athena Swan Charter encourages and recognises commitment to advancing gender equality.

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Registration open for Athena Swan sector engagement events

With the expert input of the Athena Swan Governance Committee, Advance HE is currently undertaking a transformation of Athena Swan to ensure it is as effective and supportive as possible for the future. An important objective of our work is ensuring that the Charter community has the opportunity to engage with and input to the development. With this in mind, we are delighted to open registration for a series of engagement events, at which attendees will be invited to discuss and feedback on recent developments in the transformation of the Charter. The feedback gathered through these events will be considered by the Athena Swan Governance Committee and used to inform 'Athena Swan 4.0'.

There are eight events currently planned to take place online, each specifically tailored for a particular cohort of participants: UK University-level participants; UK departmental participants; professional, technical and operational (PTO) directorates in UK universities; and, UK research institute participants.

Register for events here
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Athena Swan transformation updates

Update on the Feb 2021 Athena Swan engagement events

17 March 2021
Ruth Gilligan, Assistant Director for Equality Charters would like to thank all participants who attended our February roundtable engagement events.

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Athena Swan transformation update

19 February 2021
As the new year begins in earnest and with the first signs of Spring on the horizon, Advance HE Chief Executive Alison Johns writes with an update on the transformation of the Athena Swan Charter for gender equality.

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Athena Swan UK: Draft award criteria and underpinning expectations

16 February 2021
Working with the Athena Swan Governance Committee (ASGC) we have drafted high-level award criteria supported and underpinned by defined and transparent expectations, with feedback welcomed from the Athena Swan community.

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Athena Swan consultation exercise

12 January 2021
Call for expressions of interest in participating in an Athena Swan consultation exercise.

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UK Athena Swan review panel roles

8 January 2021
Call for expressions of interest in future UK Athena Swan review panel roles.

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End of year message from Alison Johns

17 December 2020
As we near the end of 2020, Alison Johns, Chief Executive at Advance HE, reflects on the achievements and progress we have made this year as part of the Athena Swan Transformation.

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Updated Athena Swan Charter Principles

12 November 2020
Advance HE is delighted to share the Charter Principles which will underpin the strengthened UK Athena Swan Charter currently in development.

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Update on the transformation of Athena Swan in the UK

06 November 2020
As part of our regular communications on how Athena Swan reforms are progressing, Advance HE Chief Executive Alison Johns has written a personal update on how we are working to transform the Charter and support all colleagues in the sector.

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Call for interest: membership of the UK Athena Swan Governance Committee

15 October 2020
We recently announced and welcomed members of the new Athena Swan Governance Committee, which has been formed to provide assurance, expert advice and guidance to the Advance HE Board on matters relating to the transformation and ongoing enhancement of the Athena Swan Charter in the UK. We are now seeking expressions of interest for the remaining committee members and our short-life sub-groups.

This call for interest is now closed.

The requirement for institutions to hold departmental silver or gold awards before applying for an institutional silver or gold award is abolished

9 September 2020
Advance HE can now confirm the immediate adoption of another of the review recommendations, such that applicants seeking to apply for a Silver or Gold university-level award are no longer required to hold departmental Silver or Gold awards in order to be eligible.
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Athena SWAN Awards to begin from results announcement

10 August 2020
From the April 2020 round onwards, the five-year Athena Swan award period will begin from the date on which results are communicated. This is in line with the recommendations of the Athena Swan Independent Review.

New Athena Swan Governance Committee forms

22 July 2020
Advance HE is delighted to announce and welcome the new Athena Swan Governance Committee. The Committee has been formed to provide assurance, expert advice and guidance to the Advance HE Board on matters relating to the transformation and ongoing enhancement of the Athena Swan Charter as recommended by the Independent Review of Athena Swan.
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Extension of UK Athena Swan award validity to five years

6 May 2020
The Independent Steering Group recommended that the duration of Athena Swan awards be extended to five years. As part of Advance HE’s transformation plan, we recognise that this is a recommendation that can be enacted in the short-term in the UK. We have developed a light-touch process to enable this, whilst ensuring that award holders remain committed to progressing gender equality.
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Advance HE responds to recommendations proposed in independent review of Athena Swan

6 May 2020
Advance HE publishes its detailed response to the recommendations proposed in the independent review of the Athena Swan Charter. Alison Johns, Chief Executive Advance HE, said, “We are absolutely committed to an Athena Swan Charter that is both rigorous and accessible, so that everybody can be given the opportunity to thrive in the sector, and for the sector too to thrive as a result of more inclusive and fairer cultures."
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Independent review of Athena Swan published

19 March 2020
Advance HE welcomes The Future of Athena Swan, the report of the Athena Swan Charter Independent Review Steering Group which is published today. The report is the culmination of the extensive work of the independent review led by Professor Julia Buckingham CBE, Vice-Chancellor and President of Brunel University London and will see the Charter enhanced and its processes streamlined.
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Athena Swan Governance Committee

The Athena Swan Governance Committee provides assurance, expert advice and guidance to the Advance HE Board on matters relating to the transformation and ongoing enhancement of the Athena Swan charter in the UK.

Blog: 'Be the change you want to see'

Professor Parveen Yaqoob, the University of Reading’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor, explains why ‘Be the change you want to see,’ is something of a personal mantra and shares her thoughts on its relevance to her new role as Chair of the Athena Swan Governance Committee

Read the blog
Professor Parveen Yaqoob
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Review of the Athena Swan Charter: Report and Appendices

The report of the Athena Swan Charter Independent Review Steering Group was published 19 March 2020.

The report is the culmination of the extensive work of the independent review led by Professor Julia Buckingham CBE, Vice-Chancellor and President of Brunel University London. It sets out a number of recommendations to ensure the Charter meets these challenges and is fit for purpose for the future of higher education.

Download the full report