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Advance HE develops HE equality charter in Canada

28 May 2019 | Advance HE New equality charter based on Athena SWAN for higher education in Canada

Advance HE is developing a version of the Athena SWAN Charter for the Canadian higher education and research sector. 

Working in collaboration with the Government of Canada through a partnership with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the Dimensions Charter has launched to increase equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) and help drive deeper cultural change within higher education and research in Canada.

Dimensions will be based on the UK’s Athena SWAN framework and will look to address obstacles faced by women, Indigenous Peoples, persons with disabilities, members of visible minority/racialised groups and members of LGBTQ2+ communities. Like Athena SWAN, Dimensions will provide public recognition for higher education institutions committed to achieving increased EDI through an award scheme.

Alison Johns, Chief Executive at Advance HE said,

“We are truly delighted to be able to use our 14 years of experience in running the Athena SWAN Charter to support institutions and organisations in other countries. Advance HE aims to help create a global positive shift in the systems, structures and cultures that contribute to inequality in HE and research and develop a global community of good working practice.”

The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport in Canada said,

“The launch of Dimensions, along with new grants and a robust charter, will help remove systemic barriers and improve access for everyone to equal opportunities, treatment and recognition in research. This truly is a critical and transformational step for Canadian post-secondary institutions. We know that when we bring together diverse points of view, our health, environment, communities and economy can thrive.”

Canada joins two other countries outside of the UK and Ireland who have adopted the Athena SWAN framework and process. The first was Australia in 2017 with SAGE (Science in Australia Gender Equity) and the United States launched its SEA (STEM Equity Achievement) Change programme in 2018.

The Athena SWAN Charter is a flagship accreditation scheme in the UK higher education sector which recognises action to address gender equality within academia and research.  

See the story of Athena SWAN in infographics here 

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