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Gender Equality in Higher Education

Development designed to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing gender equality in higher education

The Advance HE annual staff and student statistical report shows a larger proportion of women than men worked in professional and support roles, worked part-time, on fixed-term contracts, and in lower salary bands. Gender pay gaps remain highest among academic staff, though were still evident among professional and support staff. 

Our portfolio supports the encouraging and recognising commitment to advancing gender equality in higher education.  

Our services are built on a legacy of expertise in gender equality, drawing from our leadership of the Athena Swan Charter, championing women’s leadership development, including Aurora, equal pay and supporting the extension of women represented on university boards – all to encourage and support change across the sector. 

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Download our Gender Equality Programmes and Events 2020-21 Brochure

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Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Conference (2020)

Courageous conversations and adventurous approaches: Creative thinking in tackling inequality
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Women in HE

Women in HE Conference 2021

This one-day event will focus on issues surrounding women working in HE
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Senior Women’s Leadership Development Programme

Developing female senior leaders

The shortage of senior women at the most senior levels in institutions is still a challenge, despite some improvements at executive and board levels in recent years.

Our Senior Women’s Leadership Development Programme (formerly Leadership Matters) is one of our women-only programmes designed specifically for women in senior positions in HE to help them take the next step up or extend their role, profile and impact. It aims to create more gender parity in senior leadership within higher education

In advance of our Senior Women’s Leadership Development Programme, we will be running a free introductory webinar on 9 September 2020; register your interest here.

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Gender Equality Symposium

Gender equality remains an ever-present concern within the HE sector. The Athena Swan Charter’s process and framework is now being adopted across the globe, including in Ireland, the USA and Canada, but more work needs to be undertaken in order to address this. As Brian Schmidt, Vice Chancellor of the Australian National University (ANU) said, "we can't ignore 50 percent of the population's talent."

This symposium, by way of a keynote session, participant-led workshops and presentations, and a closing plenary, will offer insights and solutions into redressing the gender imbalance in HE.

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Women in HE


Aurora is Advance HE`s leadership development initiative for women and those who identify as a woman. It is run as a unique partnership bringing together leadership experts and higher education institutions to take positive action to address the under-representation of women in leadership positions in the sector.

Over the past six years 7,000 women from over 175 institutions across the UK and Ireland have participated in Aurora.

Reflecting the challenges we all currently face, Aurora has been re-designed as a fully virtual experience. All Aurora activity will now be delivered online.

Aurora case studies and stories

In partnership with the Brunel University, Robert Gordon University, University College Dublin, and the University of Edinburgh, we have created four institutional case studies to share learning and insight from participating in Aurora; Aurora institutional case studies.

Athena Swan

Encouraging and recognising commitment to advancing gender equality.

The Athena Swan Charter is a framework which is used across the globe to support and transform gender equality within higher education 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.

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New, views and resources


Strange times indeed

01 Jun 2020 | Suzanne O'Brien
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Gender Equality Programmes and Events 2020-21 Brochure

Please complete the form below to receive your copy of the Gender Equality Programmes and Events 2020-21 brochure by email.

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