Science in Australia Gender Equity interviewed David Ruebain, CEO of Equality Challenge Unit (ECU) in the United Kingdom (UK). ECU manages a range of equity and diversity initiatives in the UK, including the Athena SWAN Charter and the Race Equality Charter. Athena SWAN is a gender equity evaluation and accreditation program for higher education and research institutes.
David spoke with us about the importance of equity and diversity work and its growing prominence on the leadership agenda of universities, research institutes and businesses worldwide.
Representatives from the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) spoke with SAGE about their gender equity work. UKAEA is an executive non-departmental public body based at Culham Science Centre in Oxfordshire. Their fusion research centre is known as the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE). UKAEA achieved an Athena SWAN Bronze Institutional Award in 2015.
Dr Brian Lloyd, Jackie Costello and Dr Joanne Flanagan are members of the UKAEA Athena SWAN Self-Assessment Team (SAT). The SAT leads gender equity data collection, analysis, consultation and action planning. It also coordinates the Athena SWAN Award submission.
The speakers discuss how their data analysis revealed specific opportunities for addressing gender equity in their physics and engineering workforce. They relate their experiences developing an Athena SWAN submission as a publicly funded research agency. They outline key strategies for action planning and for winning institutional support. They also highlight the role of qualitative data collection in addressing issues of flexible work and parental leave.
Professor Hazel Hall is the Athena SWAN Champion at Edinburgh Napier University. She spoke with SAGE about how her team achieved an Athena SWAN Bronze Institutional Award on their first attempt in November 2014. An Athena SWAN Bronze Award recognises that an institution has started substantial work to eliminate gender bias and that it is working to create an inclusive culture for all. To apply for an Award, institutions must collect and analyse gender equity data; consult with staff and students on their findings; and recommend a four-year action plan to target gender equity and diversity issues arising from their work.
Professor Hall, who is Professor in the School of Computing, spoke about the composition of her Self-Assessment Team (SAT), and the challenges they faced collecting and analysing gender equity and diversity data. She also discussed how the SAT developed their action plan with input from staff across their institution. She also took questions from our audience live on social media.