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Bristol achieves Silver Athena SWAN award and two Bronze Athena SWAN awards

18 May 2020

The School of Earth Sciences, School for Policy Studies and School of Physiology, Pharmacology, and Neuroscience have achieved Athena SWAN awards.

The School of Earth Sciences has achieved a Silver Athena SWAN award, the School for Policy Studies has achieved a Bronze Athena SWAN award, and the School of Physiology, Pharmacology, and Neuroscience has achieved a Bronze Athena SWAN award.

The Athena SWAN Charter recognises achievements and progress towards gender equality. Athena SWAN gives universities the tools to evaluate and improve their work in advancing the careers of women and achieving gender parity at all levels of seniority.

The School of Earth Sciences has achieved a coveted Silver Athena SWAN award, which recognises the impact the School’s actions, initiatives, and policies have made on gender equality.

In 2015, the Athena SWAN Charter was expanded to cover AHSSBL (Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences and Law) subjects as well as STEMM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths, and Medicine). The School of Policy Studies is the second AHSSBL School within the University to achieve an Athena SWAN award of any level.

Professor Judith Squires, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost, said: “It is excellent to see our commitment to equality recognised in these latest Athena SWAN awards for the Schools of Earth Sciences, Policy Studies, and Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience. This is a fantastic achievement, and testament to the great teamwork of colleagues in these schools. We now have 10 Bronze awards and 6 Silver Awards. I look forward to further future successes.”

Professor Rich Pancost, Head of the School of Earth Sciences said: “One of the reasons for our success has been the appointment and promotion of women, such that we nearly have gender balance at every level of our academic, technical and professional staff; over 40% of our professors are women.

"However, the other reason for our success was an honest assessment of what work remained. Diversity is not the same as equity, and we are committed to better communication and more transparent decision-making with all members of our community. Moreover, our School like our wider discipline comprises a very low proportion of BAME students and staff; changing that will require renewed effort in all of our activities, including engaging more diverse young people, better supporting our BAME students and creating a more inclusive environment.”

Dr Jeremy Phillips, EDI Lead for the School of Earth Sciences, added: “We are very pleased to have been awarded Athena SWAN Silver. This award recognises the School’s continued commitment to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, and reflects substantial efforts by all in the School to embed these principles into our everyday activities and culture. This includes co-developing with all staff in the school transparent workload models, mentoring schemes and support for research staff, School policies including scheduling of committee meetings and hosting inclusive social events, and the promotion of female role models within the School, at public events, and online. We believe that a culture valuing equality, diversity and inclusion improves the working environment for all.”

Professor Esther Dermott, Head of Policy Studies, said: "I am delighted to accept this award on behalf of the School and would like to thank our self-evaluation team and members of the School more widely for their hard work on our application. The process has allowed us to reflect on how far our commitment to gender equality has been formalised and embedded within the School and consider the potential for future improvement in challenging gendered inequalities."

Professor Hugh Piggins, Head of Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience said: “I am delighted that our efforts and commitment to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in the School have continued to be recognised in this Bronze award. Our efforts are focused on embedding equality in everything we do as a School and have invested in dedicated resources to make sure we can continue to build on what we are already doing. Preparing an application for an Athena SWAN award is a considerable amount of work and the School is very grateful for the efforts of our self-evaluation team and in particular, the School's EDI lead and our newly appointed EDI officer, for making this happen.”

Further information

Advance HE’s Athena SWAN Charter was established in 2005 to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment in higher education and research.

In May 2015 the charter was expanded to recognise work undertaken in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL), and in professional and support roles, and for trans staff and students. The charter now recognises work undertaken to address gender equality more broadly, and not just barriers to progression that affect women.

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