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The University of Southampton
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Two Southampton faculties awarded Athena SWAN Bronze

Published: 26 September 2013
Athena SWAN Bronze Award

Following months of preparation to uncover and document years of good practice in supporting women academics in science and engineering, the faculties of Engineering and the Environment and Health Sciences have today received Athena SWAN Bronze departmental awards.

The faculties' successes follow the award of four departmental accolades in April - the first for the University of Southampton. These new awards demonstrate our continued commitment to improving equality for women in science and engineering, and ensuring that no area of the university's STEMM research is left behind.

Each award recognises that the faculty demonstrates a solid foundation for eliminating gender bias and is now developing an inclusive culture.

The self-assessment teams that put together these applications, under the guidance of their chairs Dr Lindsay-Marie Armstrong (FEE) and Dr Cathy Bowen (Health Sciences) had a significant undertaking with their own unique challenges.

The Faculty of Engineering and the Environment is a large faculty, formed in 2010 from disparate schools and departments, which each have their own characteristics that needed to be reflected in the application.

The Faculty of Health Sciences, also formed in 2010 from three schools, has come a long way in the intervening years, developing from a primarily vocational focus on education to incorporate world-leading research into the nursing and rehabilitative sciences curriculum. This has brought significant cultural changes to the Faculty, which the team were keen to reflect in their submission.

Cathy says: "I am really proud that we have been awarded a Bronze Athena SWAN departmental award.  It is a great endorsement of our hard work in nurturing careers in Health Science and the values that we have. Our Athena SWAN committee worked fabulously to bring together our submission document and all are committed to progressing this agenda and our action plan through the next few years."

Lindsay says: "The Faculty of Engineering and the Environment receiving a Bronze award is a fantastic achievement for us. A tremendous amount of commitment went into the submission process by our committee which lead to the development of a large number of actions aimed at promoting a continuous improvement for fairness for all. We look forward to implementing the action plan over the next few years and observing their effects not only on the career progression for women but also the overall atmosphere within our Faculty."

Further academic units and faculties are already exploring the Athena SWAN guidance and considering their own applications in the next year. For more information, please contact

Headline figures

Awards made nationwide from the April 2013 application round:

  • Bronze university awards: 8
  • Bronze university renewals: 1
  • Bronze departmental awards: 56 (including 2 from Southampton)
  • Silver departmental awards: 17
  • Silver departmental renewals: 1
  • Silver university awards: 1
  • Gold departmental award: 1

A total of 87 awards were made from 112 applications, with 30% of applications from medical schools and clinical departments.

92 universities and research institutions have now signed up to the Athena AWAN charter.

Notes for editors

  • The Athena SWAN Charter is administered by the Equality Challenge Unit.
  • The University of Southampton is a founding signatory of the Athena SWAN Charter.
  • Four departmental bronze awards were confered following applications in November 2012 for: Chemistry; Electronics & Computer Science; Faculty of Medicine; and Ocean & Earth Science.
  • The Univeristy's was first awarded Bronze in 2006; renewed in 2009.
  • Awards are valid for three years, during which time a university or department will fulfill the aims of their action plan before renewing.
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