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What is Athena SWAN

Athena SWAN is a charter scheme launched in 2005, which recognises a Higher Education institute’s commitment to the advancement of gender equality.  The Charter was originally launched as an initiative in STEM based subjects to address low numbers of women.  In May 2015, the scope of the Athena SWAN Charter was expanded to cover gender equality in arts, humanaties, social sciences, business and law.

There are 10 key principles which underpin the Charter.  For further information on these, please visit the national Athena SWAN website.

Why is this important?

Utilising the talent of only half the population means that the University will miss out on key ideas and research, which would not only benefit the University, but the wider society.  Athena SWAN helps to identify ‘leak points’, for example, where women are lost on the academic career path.  Through identifying and rectifying these leak points, more women would enter and progress along the academic career path, making vital contributions to STEM research, which may otherwise not have happened.

The University of Leicester's current female Professorial figures at 13 May 2015 are: 18% in STEM, 22% in the whole University, 18% in STEM (excluding clinical), 23% in the whole University (excluding clinical).

How does this affect the University of Leicester?

The University first gained its institutional Athena SWAN bronze award in September 2008, renewed in 2011.  This recognises its work and proposals to improve the participation of women in STEM subjects within the University.

We want to remove all barriers to both men and women that exist as a consequence of their gender.  Through the Athena SWAN process, we create and solidify good practice, which benefits both women and men within the University.

How can I get involved?

Each STEM department at the University has a working group, and each non STEM department will create a group, who may require members, or assistance in carrying out projects.  If you are interested in speaking to your Department’s Athena SWAN lead about what you can do to help, please contact the Equalities Team.

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