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The University of Southampton
Health Sciences

Athena SWAN update

Through the Athena SWAN agenda for the faculty of health sciences we have begun to see a real difference in culture change towards fairness for supporting careers of women. The enhanced effect is that, naturally, this is not exclusive to women and we have seen a significant impact on men within the faculty too. So far, our Bronze award action plan objectives are progressing and processes are being instigated towards achieving them. In particular there has been a focus on improving transparency towards promotion, with more individuals applying for and gaining promotion this year than in previous years.

As part of our engagement with faculty staff, following feedback in our self-assessment 2012, during the months of May, June and July 2014, the Athena SWAN committee has run several seminars as follows:

Jessica Comper has been particularly vigilant in ensuring that all presentations and additional information related to these seminars have been circulated to all staff. Launched by Dr Cheryl Metcalf and Jessica Comper during our Faculty academic staff away day, further details can also be found on our website at:

In support of developing leadership within our faculty, the senior executive team have invested in a joint ‘Springboard programme’ with the Faculty of Medicine. This is an exciting collaboration between our two faculties in which 30 women have been selected to participate. Springboard is a programme that offers women the opportunity to undertake a substantial review of their work and personal lives, and to take more control. It is a development programme written by women for women; it aims to support women in assessing where they are now, in identifying the clear, practical and realistic steps that they want to take next, and in developing the skills and confidence to underpin them.  

Finally, in liaison with our Concordat Champions, Prof Dan Bader and Dr Cheryl Metcalf, objective 8 of our action plan related to stability of careers, especially for our early career researchers  (ECRs) is currently under the spotlight. Jessica Comper has begun to set up a database of all our ECRs and has instigated regular faculty forums meetings for ECRs.

Please do continue to watch out for the Athena SWAN related activities, such as seminars, surveys and focus groups and have your say. If you are not able to join us at seminars, there will be opportunity to contact us via our website as well as our email and twitter accounts.

Dr Cathy Bowen  

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