Uni rewarded for fighting for gender equality

Newcastle University has received an Athena SWAN Silver award that praises the institutions attempts to address the underrepresentation of women in higher education.

The Equality Challenge Unit (ECU) established the Athena SWAN Charter in 2005 to encourage women to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine.

The Charter expanded in May 2015 to include the recognition of work undertaken in arts, humanities, social sciences, business, and law. The Charter aims to tackle the gender pay gap as well as gender equality.

According to Professor Judith Rankin, the Dean of Diversity, “This award is a reflection of our commitment to addressing gender equality and to support the employment and career progression of female staff across the University.”

“The dedication, ideas, and hard work of staff and students have been instrumental in us achieving this award. I am especially delighted that Newcastle University is one of only nine universities that have attained a Silver award.

“This gives us a strong foundation for our continued effort to improve the prospects for women working at the University. The challenge is now to ensure all staff benefit from improvements in our policies and practice, as we work together, to deliver our ambitious action plan over the next three years,” Rankin continued.

The institution has set an aim to make women constitute at least 30 per cent of the workforce by 2021. The number of female professors has steadily increased over the years from 21.7 per cent in 2012 to 25.1 per cent in 2015.

The University has improved the level of support provided to women who have returned from maternity leave, as well as investing more in training and professional development.

Ruth Gilligan, ECU’s Athena SWAN manager said, “Our Athena SWAN Charter is a catalyst for real change within individual departments and whole institutions.

“It is important that we recognise the work already undertaken to support gender equality for staff in professional and support roles, and can inspire more to be done in the future.”

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