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The University of Southampton
Health Sciences

Athena SWAN update from Cathy Bowen

To recap, our Athena SWAN Committee was established in February 2012 to develop and enhance the strategy for supporting careers of women within Health Sciences. Practice promoted by the Athena SWAN agenda is however not limited to female research/academic staff and students but is also put into practice for men within our Faculty as well as administrative staff.

With our Bronze departmental award (November 2013) a three year action plan was developed which has been continually reviewed under the remit of the Committee. Our main step change has been improved communication between senior management and staff.

Key actions taken include:


Following this year’s self-assessment and consequent application for silver, we have devised a new action plan with new objectives for 2015-2018 as follows:

1.1 Improve low numbers of men taking up and progressing through careers in nursing and allied health professions.

1.2 Investigate reasons behind why women proportionally appear to be achieving awards in PGT slower than men are not well understood.

1.3 Investigate why women proportionally appear to be slower in achieving PGR awards than men.

2.1 Improve system for monitoring and reporting progression Continue efforts to reduce staff turnover in the lower grades.

2.2 Continue efforts to reduce staff turnover in the lower grades.

3.1 Increase the pool of staff available to act on interview panels.

3.2 Encourage more women to apply for ERE jobs.

3.2 Improve system for monitoring and reporting perceptions and experiences of new appraisal processes.

3.3 Improve inconsistent uptake of mentorship.

3.4 Change perceptions that leadership training is targeted at women.

4.1 Increase the number of applications for promotion.

4.2 Increase awareness of resourcing for and opportunities for networking across University and externally, especially for ECRs and fixed-term contract staff.

5.1 Achieve 100% completion rate for equality and diversity and unconscious biased training.

5.2 Work towards transparency of workload allocations to all staff.

5.3 Ensure the number of none core meetings scheduled outside of core hours do not increase.

6.1 Improve prospects for women taking maternity leave, parents / carer’s leave so that they are not disadvantaged on their return to work.


These objectives will ensure we continue to progress our agenda to support careers in science and continue to promote our culture of transparency and fairness.

The Athena Swan Committee will continue to meet bi-monthly to oversee progress of the action plan. Progress will be reported to Faculty Executive quarterly for monitoring of changes in policy and practice in support of the on-going gender equality work. Our overall vision is to achieve Athena Swan Gold Status by 2020.

To review the whole Athena SWAN application for a silver charter award please follow the link to the Share-point site.




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