Athena SWAN has an international reputation for creating a gender inclusive workplace, with accredited institutions demonstrating a competitive edge in attracting the best scientists.
The Athena SWAN Charter was established in 2005 in the UK by the Equality Challenge Unit in response to chronic under-representation of women in science leadership. To participate in the Athena SWAN Awards Program, institutions must first accept the ten charter principles (see box), then begin the process of collecting and analysing data, developing and implementing action plans, and monitoring progress. Results are submitted to for peer-review, to qualify for Bronze, Silver or Gold awards. Achieving these awards is a major challenge that takes at least two years before an organisation will become eligible for an award.
The ten principles of the Athena SWAN Charter
- We acknowledge that academia cannot reach its full potential unless it can benefit from the talents of all.
- We commit to advancing gender equality in academia, in particular addressing the loss of women across the career pipeline and the absence of women from senior academic, professional and support roles.
- We commit to addressing unequal gender representation across academic disciplines and professional and support functions. In this we recognise disciplinary differences including
- the particularly high loss rate of women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM).
- We commit to tackling the gender pay gap.
- We commit to removing the obstacles faced by women, in particular, at major points of career development and progression including the transition from PhD into a sustainable academic career.
- We commit to addressing the negative consequences of using short-term contracts for the retention and progression of staff in academia, particularly women.
- We commit to tackling the discriminatory treatment often experienced by transgender people.
- We acknowledge that advancing gender equality demands commitment and action from all levels of the organisation and in particular active leadership from those in senior roles.
- We commit to making and mainstreaming sustainable structural and cultural changes to advance gender equality, recognising that initiatives and actions that support individuals alone will not sufficiently advance equality.
- All individuals have identities shaped by several different factors. We commit to considering the intersection of gender and other factors wherever possible.