November 2016 review round yields highest success rates for new Athena SWAN awards, 15 May 2017

Over seventy per cent of applications for Equality Challenge Unit’s (ECU’s) new, expanded Athena SWAN Charter award have been successful in the latest review round.

ECU’s Athena SWAN Charter award recognises higher education institutions’ and departments’ commitment to tackling gender inequality in higher education. It was extended a year ago to include arts, humanities, social sciences, and business and law departments (AHSSBL) and professional and support staff across disciplines.

University College London’s Institute of Women’s Health join an exclusive group of departments in the UK who hold a departmental Gold award. A Gold award is the highest level that institutions and departments can be awarded.

The University of Liverpool and Queen Mary, University of London now both hold prestigious institutional Silver awards. The University of Liverpool is only the second university to gain a Silver award under the expanded Charter.

Using the expanded criteria, the success rate rose from 56% in the November 2015 awards round to 71% in the November 2016 awards round. This is the highest success rate of applications submitted since the expanded criteria was introduced. From now on all universities and departments in the UK will be required to apply under the expanded criteria.

Dr Ruth Gilligan, ECU’s Athena SWAN Manager said:

‘All applicants in this awards round have shown great commitment to and progress in addressing inequalities in policies, practices and culture, and join a vibrant community in higher education. Equality Challenge Unit and I would like to congratulate all Athena SWAN awards winners on their achievements towards gender equality.’

‘The increased success rate of applications under the expanded Athena SWAN Charter process is extremely positive not least because of the consideration the expanded criteria gives to how gender and race intersect to shape experiences. We are delighted to welcome all successful applicants under the expanded criteria all of whom are paving the way for real change in AHSSBL subjects and for professional and support staff within their departments and institutions.’

Six additional universities were all awarded Bronze institutional awards under the expanded criteria: King’s College London; Birmingham City University; Canterbury Christ Church University, City University London, Coventry University; Heriot-Watt University. In total 113 awards have been conferred in the November 2016 application round.


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