Bioscience departments receive recognition for tackling gender inequality

Our University has been further recognised for our commitment to tackling gender inequality in higher education with the announcement that two of our biosciences departments have received Athena SWAN awards.

Equality Challenge Unit has announced that our Department of Cancer Studies has achieved an Athena SWAN silver award. This level of award reflects the implementation of change and the demonstration of impact in addressing gender inequality and the Department has worked hard to achieve this prestigious accolade. In the same round the University of Leicester’s Department of Genetics has been awarded a bronze award in recognition of their work in identifying particular challenges that the Department and discipline face.  Both departments have set themselves ambitious action plans to advance gender equality in these two disciplines.

Our President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paul Boyle, said: “Receiving two more Athena SWAN awards, is a mark of great commitment to gender equality and demonstrates the great strides that the University of Leicester has made in tackling issues of recruiting and retaining women in HE. I am delighted that the efforts of our colleagues to create a more positive environment have been recognised."

Professor Philip Baker, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Medicine, Biological Sciences and Psychology and Dean of Medicine, said: “I am delighted that we have been awarded  a Silver Athena SWAN award in the Department of Cancer Studies and a Bronze Athena SWAN award for the Department of Genetics. I would like to congratulate the self-assessment teams in both departments, these awards reflect their outstanding hard work and commitment. We remain committed to challenging gender stereotypes across all aspects of our work and continue to develop an environment that has gender equality at its core.  We look forward to embedding the ambitious activities outlined in our Athena SWAN action plans in the coming months.”

The University of Leicester signed up to the Athena SWAN Charter in 2006 and achieved its Institutional Athena SWAN Bronze Award in 2008 with renewals in 2011 and 2014. The Department of Health Sciences achieved the University’s first departmental silver award in 2013 and this was followed by two silver awards in April 2016 for the Department of Cardiovascular Science and the Department of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation. Seven other Departments or Schools currently hold bronze awards (Chemistry, Computer Science, Mathematics, Molecular & Cell Biology, Neuroscience, Psychology & Behaviour and Physics & Astronomy), bringing our total of departmental awards to twelve.

Leicester also holds one of the first non-STEM ECU Gender Equality Charter Marks with the School of Museum Studies achieving a bronze award in 2014.

  • In September 2014, UN Women launched HeForShe, a global solidarity movement for gender equality, with the aim of engaging and encouraging men and boys to take action against the gender inequality which women across the world face.  This worldwide movement seeks to progress the advancement of gender equality specifically through increased engagement of men and young people as advocates and agents of change. In September 2015, the University officially launched its HeForShe partnership with the United Nations as one of ten universities worldwide to be HeForShe IMPACT Champions. The HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 is an initiative that convenes ten Heads of State, ten global CEOs and ten University Presidents to fast-track gender equality in boardrooms, classrooms and world capitals.
  • The University of Leicester is leading the way in terms of gender equality as one of only 10 universities worldwide to be leading the UN’s HeForShe campaign. Leicester’s commitment to diversity, equalities and people who flourish cuts across the entire institution.
  • More on HeForShe
  • Equality Challenge Unit press release
  • University press release here