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The transformed UK Athena Swan Charter

Developed in full consultation with specialist groups and the sector, we have enhanced the systems and processes that underpin the UK Charter to ensure it is fit for the future of the higher education and research sectors.

The framework used to support and transform gender equality within higher education (HE) and research has undergone a paradigm shift from prescription, to autonomy and flexibility.

Find out more about the transformed UK Athena Swan Charter

You can download an information pack which contains everything you need to know. Each pack is tailored to a particular applicant type, so you'll be able to choose the one that is most relevant to you. 

Download

The transformed UK Athena Swan Charter is a newly enhanced framework developed in full consultation with sector practitioners, EDI Champions and specialist sub-groups overseen by the Athena Swan Governance Committee. The framework has been transformed based on the recommendations made in the Independent Review led by the Athena Swan Steering Group. 

The newly transformed Charter builds on and enhances the strengths of the existing framework, yielding a Charter that is even more flexible, transparent and supportive.

Advance HE members who apply for Athena Swan awards under the transformed charter can expect to benefit from:

  • A paradigm shift from prescription to autonomy and flexibility;
  • Advance HE moving from being in a position of assessment to a developmental and supporting approach;
  • A reduction in administrative burden including a halving of data requirements.
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Sarah Sharples

The devil has been in the detail, and for every aspect of the transformation it has been important to think through very carefully the way that it will be implemented, and what will be required to ensure that the changes have the positive impact that we all wish them to have."

Professor Sarah Sharples 
Pro-Vice Chancellor for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Nottingham and Deputy Chair of the Athena Swan Governance Committee.

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Key enhancements of the transformed UK Athena Swan Charter 

Below are the key areas of the Athena Swan framework that have undergone a transformation.

principles

Supports greater inclusivity for people in all roles, of all gender identities, and those facing intersectional inequalities. It also empowers participants to make active commitments in line with their gender equality goals, as well as recognise and reward gender equality work.

award criteria

Provides greater clarity and transparency on expectations at each award level, including decision-making at assessment, and enabling greater flexibility for applicants to focus on priority areas.

application materials

More streamlined, reducing the administrative burden by more than 50% for applicants enabling greater flexibility to focus on priority areas. With an introduction to the standardised departmental survey, it empowers applicants to focus on the assessment of culture.

panel process

Increased clarity and professionalisation of panel roles, supported by enhanced live training, consistency through the adoption of a new scoring rubric and new processes for minor and major revisions.

guidance

Increased guidance to provide additional developmental support for applicants including pre-application support, clear written guidance, events and specialised team support.

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Interviews

Athena Swan panel Chair members Sarah Guerra, Director of Equality Diversity & Inclusion at Kings College London, Matthew Gooch, Head of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion at University of East Anglia and Mariella Giancola, Head of Human Resources at British Antarctic Survey talk about their involvement in the transformed UK Charter.

You can watch the three video interviews below.

We also interviewed Emma Hughes, Equality Advisor at Swansea University about the Athena Swan Charter.

What is your involvement with Athena Swan?

I have recently been appointed an Athena Swan panel reviewer, for the first time. As a HR Equality Advisor, at Swansea University, I provide professional expertise to institutional and departmental Athena Swan applications and help embed the Charter principles into everyday processes.

What changes do you want to see made for gender equality in higher education and research?

The removal of structural inequalities for all gender identities across higher education and research, to ensure all staff and students have the opportunity to succeed and thrive throughout their career/education.

How do you think the transformed Charter will make an impact on gender equality?

It's really encouraging to see more of a focus on support, and an increase in providing guidance to institutions in the transformed UK Charter. In order to make real progress for gender equality, in higher education and research, it’s important that we all work together across the sector to share best practices and to learn from each other. The transformed UK Charter provides us with a mechanism for doing so.

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Charter materials, guidance and FAQs

To make it easier for you to find everything you need and want to know about the transformed UK Athena Swan Charter we have created downloadable information packs. 

We also have an extensive FAQs section which contains answers to commonly raised questions about all aspects of the transformed UK Athena Swan Charter.

Click here to download a letter to sign-up to the new Charter principles.

Below is initial guidance to help you to use the transformed Charter. The Charters team will be offering further to support for members who wish to use the new Charter in the coming months.

More resources

You can get the relevant information pack(s) emailed to you and also receive links to more resources on the transformed UK Athena Swan Charter.

Request a pack.
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Topic 1: Collecting and Analysing Data

Guidance on collecting and analysing data
Read more

Topic 2: Assessing Your Culture

Guidance on assessing your culture
Read more

Topic 3: Reviewing Your Policies

Guidance on reviewing your policies
Read more

Topic 4: Identifying Your Priorities

Guidance on identifying your priorities
Read more

Topic 5: Creating Your Gender Action Plan

Guidance on creating your gender action plan
Read more

Topic 6:Implementing and Evaluating Your Action Plan

Guidance on implementing and evaluating your action plan
Read more

Topic 7: Evidencing Your Success in Gender Equality

Guidance on evaluating your success in gender equality
Read more
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Download an information pack

Information pack for Universities 

In this pack, Universities will find all the information and materials they need to apply for an award under the transformed UK Athena Swan Charter.

Download the pack

Information pack for Departments 

In this pack, Departments will find all the information and materials they need to apply for an award under the transformed UK Athena Swan Charter.

Download the pack

Information pack for Research Institutes

In this pack, Research Institutes will find all the information and materials they need to apply for an award under the transformed UK Athena Swan Charter.

Download the pack

Information pack for PTO Directorates

In this pack, Professional, Technical and Operational Directorates will find all the information and materials they need to apply for an award under the transformed UK Athena Swan Charter.

Download the pack
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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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The transformed UK Athena Swan Charter pilot schemes

As part of the transformed UK Athena Swan Charter we have developed a new culture survey that empowers departmental applicants to focus on the assessment of culture. Departments from Higher Education Institutions have had the opportunity to express an interest in piloting our culture survey. Those who have registered an interest in being involved in the pilot will receive further information shortly.

We have also developed standalone PTO Directorate UK Athena Swan application forms. Professional, Technical and Operational Directorates have had the opportunity to express an interest in piloting our new standalone PTO Directorate UK Athena Swan application forms. Those who have registered an interest in being involved in the pilot will receive further information shortly.

Updates on each of these pilot schemes will be published on this web page in due course.

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Dissemination events

Advance HE hosted a number of events throughout the summer to assist practitioners' in learning more about the transformed UK Athena Swan Charter. You can watch the recordings from these events below.

University and Department introduction to the transformed UK Athena Swan Charter

Advance HE hosted an online dissemination event on Friday 30 July from 14:00 - 15:30 BST 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 from 14:00 - 15:30 BST 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 from 14:00 - 15:30 BST for Professional, Technical and Operational (PTO) Directorates.
Watch the recording
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More about the transformed UK Athena Swan Charter

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.
Find out more

FAQs

We answer your questions about the transformed UK Athena Swan Charter. 
Find out more

Athena Swan Governance Committee

List all of the members of the ASGC
Find out more

The Athena Swan transformation journey

Find out more about the Athena Swan transformation journey
Find out more

Independent Review

The Athena Swan Charter went through an Independent Review.
Download the report

How your Athena Swan application is assessed

Information and guidance on how your Athena Swan application will be assessed.
Find out more

Blog: Advancing gender equality for professional roles in higher education and research institutions

Kelly Vere, reflects on the importance of the inclusion of professional, technical and operational staff in the transformed Charter.
Find out more