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Focus on Women in HE

Resources, Insights, Programmes and Events which cover aspects of HE relating to gender equality for women.

There has been significant progress in all areas of gender equality in the last decade but at times this is slow, and some may say at risk of even going backwards due to the pace of change. 

The Advance HE annual staff and student statistical report shows us that despite comprising the majority of staff working in UK HEIs (54.4%), women remained under-represented among academic staff, staff in SET subject areas and in senior management roles. 

Focus on Women in HE

Stories and views on Women in HE


‘Human rights are women’s rights, and women’s rights are human rights’

Tracy Bell-Reeves, Director of Programmes and Events at Advance HE, explains why Hillary Rodham-Clinton’s words from 1995 still strike a chord 25 years later. Read the blog here

UK professors

Women in HE – accelerating change to tackle treatment and inclusion of women

Alison Johns, Advance HE CEO, highlights some of the stark statistics about women’s representation in higher education ahead of our Women in HE Conference: Conditions for Change - how can we accelerate change that tackles the treatment and inclusion of women? Read the blog here 

Women’s Leadership in Higher Education

Norma Jarboe, Founder and Director of WomenCount, discusses women's participation on boards and the challenges of sustaining the progress that has been made. Read the blog here


Is bullying cutting short careers in many academic institutions?

Ahead of our Women in HE Conference 2020, Jenny Garrett, career coach and member of the panel discussion on sexual misconduct, harassment and violence in the workplace, argues that bullying could be cutting short women’s careers in academia. Read the blog here

Barbara Bassa, Advance HE

From difficult to transformative – the art of handling those hard-to-have conversations

Barbara Bassa, Advance HE Senior Leadership Development Adviser and director of the Senior Women's Leadership Development Programme, points the way to conversations that build strong relationships and improve organisational performance. Read the blog here

Australian HE institutions recognised for work to eliminate gender bias

Thirteen Australian higher education institutions have been recognised for their efforts to improve gender equity and diversity, receiving Athena SWAN Institutional Bronze Awards as part of the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) initiative. Read the blog here

Women Professors as Intellectual Leaders
Women Professors as Intellectual Leaders View Document

EDI Workshop Series

During 2019-20 we will be running a series of workshops focused on equality, diversity and inclusivity topics to support practitioners, managers and leaders within HE institutions across the UK.

Find out more

EDI for Managers (York)

Date: 4 February 2020
Venue: Advance HE, York
Book now

Dignity and Respect (York)

Date: 19 February 2020
Venue: Advance HE, York
Find out more

Student pregnancy and maternity

Date: 15 May 2020
Venue: Napier House, London
Book now

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.

Finding my identity: reflections on Aurora

A year on from commencing Aurora, Rosie Russell from the University of Edinburgh offers some reflections on attending Aurora and its lasting impact. Read the blog here

Rosie Russell
aurora edinburgh

Talking, sharing and learning about leadership in higher education

Phyllida Hancock, Programme Facilitator, summarises the first day of the Edinburgh Aurora cohort 2019-20. Read the blog here

How a women-only programme impacted my career

Suzanne O'Brien, Director of Student Experience and Student Recruitment, Canterbury Christ Church University, explains her path to becoming a facilitator on Aurora and her leadership journey. Read the blog here

How a women-only programme impacted my career
Onwards & upwards? Tracking women's work experiences in higher education - Year 2 Report
Onwards & upwards? Tracking women's work experiences in higher education - Year 2 Report View Document

Would you like more information on Aurora?

Request an information pack containing links to the Aurora brochure, case studies, videos and links to each of the cohorts for Aurora 2019-20. 

Request an information pack

Support in Women’s Careers in Higher Education

Advance HE has published a report, What Works: Supporting Women’s Careers, designed to offer practical insights to support women’s career progression.

Find out more

“You’re too nice to be a surgeon”

Emily Hotine, Athena Swan Coordinator in the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences, University of Oxford, explains the impact and biases created by patient perceptions of female surgeons. Read the blog here

“You’re too nice to be a surgeon”
Athena SWAN applications

Eight ways to demonstrate impact in an Athena SWAN application

Following the receipt of a Silver Athena SWAN award under the expanded charter, Dr Cheryl Smythe, Babraham Institute’s EDI team lead, reflects on their approach to demonstrating impact within their application at the recent Research Institute Advisory Group workshop. Read the blog here

The impact of Athena SWAN on Humanities Departments
The impact of Athena SWAN on Humanities Departments View Document

Knowledge Hub

Our Knowledge Hub brings together thousands of higher education resources, click the below button to search our resources relating to women in HE.

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News and views

Read the latest blogs, analysis and updates from Advance HE related to equality in higher education.

Read more on equality