Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton

Southampton Athena SWAN success signals new beginning for gender equality

Published: 12 August 2013
Athena SWAN Bronze

The University of Southampton’s aspirations to improve fairness and equality for women have been rewarded through the Athena SWAN (Scientific Women’s Academic Network) Charter administered by the Equality Challenge Unit.

Not only did Southampton - a founding signatory of the Athena SWAN Charter - achieve the renewal of its Bronze award in June, but additionally Chemistry, alongside Electronics and Computer Science, Medicine and Ocean and Earth Science received the University's first departmental awards in recognition of building a solid foundation for eliminating gender bias and the development of an inclusive culture.

Andrea Russell, Professor of Electrochemistry said: "Southampton Chemistry is very pleased to have been awarded an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our continued efforts to support the career aspirations of female chemists.  We have been actively engaged with Athena SWAN for a number of years both by supporting the University's Bronze applications and through the Royal Society of Chemistry.  The process of applying for the Athena SWAN award helped us to identify areas of strength in the culture and procedures of our department, including our mentoring scheme for new academic staff and the use of senior women as role models.  Areas where we now wish to improve were also identified and we intend to make progress over the next few years as we seek the Silver award. Overall we found involvement in the Athena SWAN process at the departmental level to be a beneficial experience."


Continued efforts to support the career aspirations of female chemists
Athena SWAN Bronze award

The Charter's prime focus is on women's careers in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Medicine) disciplines. In November 2012, a Self-Assessment Team chaired by Professor Iain Cameron, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, submitted an application to renew the University's Bronze award, with the explicit aim of preparing the ground for a Silver award by 2015. A dedicated Diversity team helped to support individual bids with statistics and wider knowledge and insight gained from previous applications.

A key part of each submission is an action plan setting out steps that the individual Self-Assessment Teams will be taking over the next three years, to ensure that best practice truly becomes part of our culture. Since the University's previous award in 2009, many research councils and other organisations have stipulated that they will be taking into consideration how well equality and diversity is embedded into universities.

University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Don Nutbeam added: "Over the last three years, a whole range of activities, initiatives, groups and committees have helped to define a solid bedrock in support of staff equality. Pivotal to this has been valuing and nurturing existing academic expertise, alongside a commitment to recruiting the best of global talent. This has highlighted some key areas where we want to improve, particularly in identifying, developing and promoting our talented women in addition to ensuring our reputation as a supportive environment for study, research and work."

Chemistry awarded Bronze accolade
Privacy Settings