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New Athena SWAN awards for University of Leicester recognise continued commitment to gender equality

First institutional Athena SWAN Silver Award and two new departmental Bronze awards for Leicester

Advance HE’s Equality Challenge Unit has announced that the University of Leicester has been awarded a Silver Institutional Athena SWAN award and that two further departments, Informatics and Mathematics, have received departmental Bronze Athena SWAN awards, in the charter that recognises commitment to tackling advancing gender equality in higher education.

The achievement of an Institutional Silver Athena SWAN award recognises a significant record of activity in addressing gender equality challenges and implementing actions across the institution. It demonstrates impact and continued work in addressing advancing gender equality challenges.

A range of achievements and initiatives contributed to the award application, including: women associated with the University’s history celebrated through art; leadership programmes that have gender equality embedded throughout; and the launch of a new Menopause Policy, the first of its kind for a UK university. An ambitious Athena SWAN Institutional Silver action plan will be overseen by the Gender Equality Action Group for the duration of the award until 2022.

The University self-assessment team, chaired by Kate Williams, Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, developed the application which built on the previous Bronze award.

Dr Kate Williams said: “Being awarded an Institutional Silver Athena SWAN award is a great achievement and reflects the work and contribution of a huge range of people. Thank you to everyone who worked so hard towards achieving this award, including our proactive Gender Equality Action Group, and particularly Faye McCarthy and Paul Cullis.”

The same review round has seen success for applications by the Department of Informatics, led by Dr Neil Walkinshaw, and the Department of Mathematics, led by Professor Nicole Snashall, which both achieved Bronze Athena SWAN award. Bronze awards recognise departmental efforts to identify particular challenges that the Department and discipline face and both departments have set themselves ambitious action plans to advance gender equality in their areas.

Professor Paul Boyle, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester, said: “An Athena SWAN award is a mark of great commitment to gender equality and demonstrates the fantastic effort that the University of Leicester has made in addressing the progressive principles on which the charter is based. I am delighted that the efforts of our colleagues to embed these principles in policies, practices and culture and creating a more positive working environment have been recognised at both University and Departmental level."

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 University now holds a total of 6 departmental Silver awards and 7 Bronze, and 1 Gender Equality Charter Mark Bronze award. Departments within the College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities are beginning their Athena SWAN journeys and aim to apply for awards over the coming years.

James Greenwood-Lush, head of Athena SWAN at Advance HE, said: “I’m delighted to congratulate the sector for its ongoing commitment and achievement. The April round saw increases in award success rates in both arts and sciences, particularly in the former. This is the greatest number of awards we have ever made in a single round, and I offer my heartfelt thanks to partners across the sector – including our dedicated pool of panellists – for their work to improve gender equality for their colleagues, students, collaborators and the next generation.”

Following the latest round of Athena SWAN award submissions, Advance HE is pleased to announce that three institutions have gained a silver award, with five new institutional recipients for bronze award status. The success rate of applications meeting the charter’s criteria has also risen from 64% to 72.9%. Overall, 148 awards were conferred. For more information on Athena Swan and its award holders, please visit Athena Swan 2018 statistics.

To find out more about Athena SWAN at the University please contact Faye McCarthy, Gender Equality Programme Lead - F.McCarthy@leicester.ac.uk.

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