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Launch of new database of evidence-based gender and race equality initiatives

16 Sep 2020 | Ashlee Christoffersen Advance HE is very pleased to launch a new, evidence-based online Good Practice Database for those working to advance gender and race equality in higher education through Athena SWAN and the Race Equality Charter (REC).

The database aims to celebrate the breadth of gender and race equality initiatives taking place across the higher education sector, provide Advance HE members with practical ideas and encourage them to trial new initiatives adapted to their contexts.

The database features examples of initiatives that advanced gender and/or race equality within the contexts of the departments or institutions where they were executed (i.e. the initiatives created a demonstrated positive change in relation to gender and/or race equality). It is organised by 18 thematic areas (e.g. Recruitment, Degree Awarding Gap, Workload Allocation, etc.). It includes further details on the target group of the initiative (e.g. staff or students), as well as details of the activity and the change that it produced.

The initiatives are drawn from recent analysis of selected successful Athena SWAN Silver and Gold applications from the period 2015-2019 (selected for inclusion to be representative of different disciplines, institution mission groups and sizes, and geographical locations), and successful REC applications to date. The analysis was carried out by Advance HE researchers and associates. The database expands existing good practice initiatives drawn from Athena SWAN applications from Medicine and allied disciplines: it will now also include examples from Biology; Chemistry; Computer Science; Engineering; Geography; Mathematics; Physics; and Psychology, as well as some institution-level activities drawn from institutional applications. It includes good practice examples from REC submissions published for the very first time.

The analysis uncovered that the most frequently noted thematic area for race equality initiatives, which included evidence that they produced a positive change, related to Staff Recruitment (of both academic and professional and support staff). Work in this area includes developing more equitable recruitment processes, and positive changes include increases in representation of Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) staff, whether overall or in specific job roles. Areas with the second largest numbers of evidence-based initiatives related to Student Recruitment and addressing the Degree Awarding Gap (which favoured white students).

Advance HE will continue to add further good practice examples to the database.


Ashlee is a mixed methods equality research consultant working across the academic and third sectors and Advance HE Associate.

The new, evidence-based Good Practice Database is for those working to advance gender and race equality in higher education through Athena Swan and the Race Equality Charter (REC). Find out more and read about the initiatives here.


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