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Athena Swan

Athena SWAN


What is Athena SWAN?

Athena SWAN is a Charter which recognises excellence in an institution's commitment to gender equality. Over the past decade, the principal focus of Athena SWAN has been on the progression of women academics and researchers in the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM).

In 2015, Athena SWAN broadens its reach to cover women in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and women in professional services, in recognition that all women in the Higher Education sector (and beyond) face very similar career trajectories and largely similar barriers to progression. This follows the successful pilot of the Gender Equality Charter Mark Scheme and its subsequent merger with the Athena SWAN Charter. Now all departments, from all disciplines across King's, can submit for gender equality awards under the Athena SWAN process.

What is happening at King's?

King's has been a member of the Athena SWAN Charter since 2007 and gained its Bronze institutional award in 2008. The university's Bronze award was renewed in September 2013 for a further three years. Colleagues across King's are proactively working towards an institutional Silver award by November 2016.

The Athena SWAN agenda is championed by Professor Evelyn Welch, Vice-Principal (Arts and Sciences), and forms part of a wider suite of diversity and inclusion work streams championed by Chris Mottershead, Vice-Principal (Research and Innovation).

Working with the Charter is helping the university to identify and implement best practice for the working environment of all staff, not just women.

In 2014, King's' STEMM Divisions and Faculties began to submit for their own Athena SWAN awards and one Department from Arts and Sciences submitted to the pilot of the Gender Equality Charter Mark (the equivalent of Athena SWAN for the Arts and Sciences).

View details of existing departmental, divisional and faculty awards.

The Athena SWAN Steering Group

The Steering Group's key aim is to provide leadership and support to the university's work programme around Athena SWAN.

Athena SWAN Champion's Network

Reporting to the Athena SWAN Steering Group, the Network's key aim is to drive forward the progress necessary to achieve successful Athena SWAN applications and develop and share best practice.

King's Athena SWAN Programme consists of three areas:

  1. Implementation of the Bronze Action Plan

    The action plan supporting the Bronze application outlines how we will address any barriers to mainstreaming the principles of the Athena SWAN Charter. This action plan also supports the university's Equality and Diversity Objectives. Implementation of the action plan is carried out through briefings and discussions with the Teams / Directorates with assigned responsibility for implementing particular actions to ensure progress occurs to the agreed timescales. Representatives from these areas attend the Steering Group to update on progress in line with agreed milestones.

  2. Supporting all Departments, Divisions and Faculties going for Silver

    The Steering Group currently supports Athena SWAN activity in the Faculty of Life Sciences and Medicine (FoLSM) Natural & Mathematical Sciences, the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, the Dental Institute and the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery. All Faculties (and in the case of FoLSM – almost all Divisions) have established their own Self-Assessment Teams and have populated their own action plans and developed a programme of interventions. All Faculties and all Divisions of the Faculty of Life Sciences and Medicine are working towards achieving Silver awards by November 2015.

  3. Extending Athena SWAN initiatives and good practices to women in Arts and Sciences and Women in Professional Services

    In 2014 all Athena SWAN initiatives and good practices originally instigated and offered to women academics and researchers in STEMM disciplines were extended to women academics and researchers in Arts and Sciences. In 2015, this programme of work continues and sees the roll-out of many schemes and initiatives to women in professional services.

Combining our gender and race equalities agendas

In April 2015, King's will submit its application to the pilot of the Race Equality Charter Mark. 2015 will be an important year for identifying the cross-overs between our gender and race equalities agendas – and beginning the process of extending any gender-related initiatives that will also benefit our black and minority ethnic staff and students.

Athena SWAN Progress update

View a summary of key Athena SWAN developments and progress at King's, that include:

  • an update on the progress we are making in developing and supporting the careers of women academics and researchers in STEMM disciplines

  • details of how these initiatives are being rolled out to women in Arts and Sciences and women in professional services

  • information on good practices for promoting gender equality across the university.

More information on Athena SWAN


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