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Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Athena SWAN

The Athena SWAN Charter recognises the advancement of gender equality: representation, progression and success for all. The Charter covers women, men where appropriate and trans staff and students in:  

  • Academic roles in STEMM and AHSSBL*
  • Professional and support staff
  • Trans staff and students.

*Advance HE’s Athena SWAN Charter was established in 2005 to encourage and recognise the 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 include arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL) departments, in addition to professional and support roles. The Charter now recognises work undertaken to address gender equality more broadly, and not just barriers to progression that affect women.

In relation to their:

  • Representation
  • Progression of students into academia
  • Journey through career milestones
  • Working environment for all staff

Birmingham City University is a signatory to the 10 Athena SWAN principles.

In May 2016 BCU was awarded the Athena SWAN Bronze Institutional award in recognition of its commitment to advancing gender equality through a four year Action Plan (2016-2020). We are now working towards our Bronze Renewal application in April 2021 and supporting applications by our Schools and Institutes for Athena SWAN Bronze Departmental Awards. 

We are currently awaiting the outcome of Departmental Bronze Award submissions to the April 2020 round, by the School of Nursing and Midwifery and the School of Social Sciences.  Meanwhile four other Schools/Institutes are also actively engaged in preparing Athena SWAN Bronze Departmental applications: School of Education and Social Work, School of Life Sciences, School of Engineering and Built Environment, and Birmingham Institute of Media and English which we hope to submit in November 2020.  Five members of staff have acted as panellists on the national Athena SWAN Award panels.

The Athena SWAN Steering Committee (ASSC) provides overall direction and leads the development of institutional submissions and is chaired by Professor Maxine Lintern and constitutes a range of colleagues from all Faculties and the University Executive Group. The Athena SWAN Project Manager, Dr Kate Carruthers Thomas combines Athena SWAN work with her academic research into higher education and gender.

The action plan has resulted in among other things, changes to advertisements and interview practices, gender analysis of the staff engagement surveys and ongoing review of REF preparation as per the Code of Practice. All Faculties now have a ‘diversity champion’ who leads their recently established EDI Committees. Development schemes such as Aurora have gathered pace with current participants being mentored by previous candidates, building a community of support.

Our female Professors have created an action group ‘The 29 Profs’ to meet and discuss how they can bring their influence to bear on matters of gender (and other protected characteristics) leading to a review of Professorial appointments and pay grades, a ‘Profs in Preparation’ development and mentoring scheme for upcoming female academics and a Professorial Lectures series, launched as part of the xChange Festival.

Leadership and targets

The Athena SWAN process is led by the Athena SWAN Steering Committee and is currently comprised of the following key stakeholders from across the University:

• Dr Keeley Abbott (BLSS)

• Professor Julian Beer (Deputy Vice-Chancellor)

• Jane Farrow (RIE)

• Professor Diane Kemp (ADM)

• Professor Alex Kendall (HELS)

• Dr Laura Leyland (CEBE)

• Professor Maxine Lintern (BLSS, Chair)

• Amanda Owen-Meehan (ADM)

• Dr Annette Naudin (ADM)

• Tim Openshaw (PPD)

• Professor Keith Osman (RIE)

• Professor Hanifa Shah (CEBE)

• Dr Jacqueline Taylor (ADM)

• Dr Kate Carruthers Thomas (Research Fellow and Project Manager)

• Dr Kate Thomson (HELS)

• Professor Mary Traynor (ADM)

More information

Dr Kate Carruthers Thomas, Research Fellow and Project Manager
Telephone: +44 (0)121 202 8643
Email: kate.thomas@bcu.ac.uk

Athena Swan