The Athena SWAN Charter is about advancing gender equality within the HE sector. The scheme recognises excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM) in higher education. In May 2015 the Charter was expanded to Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences, Business and Law (AHSSBL) and in professional services roles.

The RVC joined the Athena SWAN Charter with the endorsement of the Principal and the College Executive Committee (CEC). Our first Self Assessment Team (SAT), chaired by Dr. Christine Thuranira-McKeever, was successful in its submission for the Athena SWAN institutional bronze award in October 2017 (see below). Progress made against the Athena SWAN Action Plan 2017-2021 is monitored by the Equality and Diversity Committee. In 2021, a renewed (SAT) co-chaired by Dr. Sharon Kendall and Professor Nicola Menzies-Gow started working on a new submission for the renewal of the Bronze award which was submitted to Advance HE in July 2022.

Athena SWAN Beliefs and Principles

The beliefs underpinning the Charter are:

  • The advancement of science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine is fundamental to quality of life across the globe
  • It is vitally important that women are adequately represented in what has traditionally been, and is still, a male-dominated area
  • Science cannot reach its full potential unless it can benefit from the talents of the whole population, and until women and men can benefit equally from the opportunities it affords.

The six principles which Charter members are asked to accept and to incorporate into their action plans are:

  • To address gender inequalities requires commitment and action from everyone, at all levels of the organisation
  • To tackle the unequal representation of women in science requires changing cultures and attitudes across the organisation
  • The absence of diversity at management and policy-making levels has broad implications which the organisation will examine
  • The high loss rate of women in science is an urgent concern which the organisation will address
  • The system of short-term contracts has particularly negative consequences for the retention and progression of women in science, which the organisation recognises
  • There are both personal and structural obstacles to women making the transition from PhD into a sustainable academic career in science, which require the active consideration of the organisation

Athena SWAN Charter Bronze Award

The RVC successfully achieved the Athena SWAN Bronze Award in October 2017. The Equality and Diversity Committee (EDC) plays a pivotal role in steering the implementation of the Athena SWAN Action Plan. Members of the EDC are acting as departmental Equality & Diversity Champions to promote equality and diversity within their departments. A key area of their work is supporting the implementation of Athena SWAN actions through the development of their Departmental Equality and Diversity Action Plans. To find out more about your Departmental Equality and Diversity Action Plan you can contact your local Equality and Diversity Champion. If you would like further information on the Athena SWAN Action Plan, please contact Ferhat Nazir-Bhatti, Equality and Diversity Manager,

Athena SWAN Renewal Submission July 2022

The Athena SWAN Bronze Charter Mark is awarded for a period of 5 years (2017-2022). A Self-Assessment Team(SAT) was established to support the preparation for the Athena SWAN renewal award in 2022. THE SAT consisted of 22 members of staff each representing a different area of the RVC, including the Principal, and was established in 2021. The Athena SWAN renewal was submitted in July 2022 to Advance HE, which is the awarding body for the charter.

Athena SWAN Bronze Renewal Form July 2022

RVC Athena SWAN Award Application 2017

Athena SWAN awards, and the application process involved, help universities improve the recruitment, retention and promotion of female academic and research staff and thus maintain a competitive advantage. 

The RVC's Self Assessment Team (chaired by Dr Christine Thuranira-McKeever) is the group responsible for putting together our application to help the RVC achieve the organisational bronze award. This has involved the release of a survey, a review of a number of academic policies affecting career development and progression, a review of baseline statistics and the development of an action plan which will help ensure the RVC meets the principles of the Athena SWAN Charter.

The group has submitted an application for the bronze award. Updates will be posted on the intranet as soon as they are available.

Athena SWAN Submission and Action Plan 2017

Our Athena SWAN Submission & Action Plan 2017 is available here.

Athena SWAN Progress Report 2020

The attached document provides a detailed update on the progress we have made towards meeting the actions set out in the Athena SWAN Action Plan.

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