The award recognises the organisation’s commitment to gender equality.

By Sophie Cubbin (Head of Communications and Events), Published (Updated )

City, University of London has been recognised for its commitment to gender equality by achieving the Bronze Award as part of the Athena SWAN Charter.

The Athena Scientific Women’s Academic Network (SWAN) Charter was established in 2005 to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM) fields in higher education and research.

In May 2015 the Charter was expanded to recognise work undertaken in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL); in professional and support roles; and for trans staff and students. The Charter now recognises work undertaken to address gender equality more broadly not just barriers to progression that may affect women.

Bronze Award

City became a member of the Athena SWAN Charter in February 2014. The Charter supports institutions to raise their Equality and Diversity profiles, both internally and externally and provides a framework on which to build on current good practice.

City submitted its Bronze Award application to the Equality Challenge Unit last November. The Self-Assessment Team (SAT) and Gender Equality Working Group (GEWG) led the development of the submission, under the new Athena SWAN scheme and received the outcome in April. The award will enable wider changes to the City working culture for the benefit of all.

Action Plan

To obtain the Bronze Award City reflected on its culture, practices and processes and produced a four-year Action Plan to deliver improvements.

City has already commenced work on the Action Plan and will continue to monitor and review its implementation over the next four years. Some Deans have identified Athena SWAN ‘leads’ to progress School applications and detailed work is underway, while Equality & Diversity leads have been identified in all Schools and Professional Services.

Professor Giulia Iori, Chair of the Gender Equality Working Group (GEWG), commented:

"Achieving the Athena SWAN Bronze Award is a significant achievement for City. The Gender Equality Project is committed to making long-term changes which embed positive cultures and behaviours across the institution. Implementation of the Athena SWAN Action Plan is one way in which we will continue to do this."

Professor Richard Verrall, Vice-President (Strategy & Planning), commented:

“Gender equality promotes good employment practices and equal opportunities that benefit both women and men. The development of our Athena SWAN application involved extensive staff engagement and an evidence-based Action Plan emerged to which we are committed.

“Thank you to all our staff for their support during this process and particularly to members of the Gender Equality Working Group and the Self-Assessment Team. I am confident that we will maintain the same level of commitment and enthusiasm as we work to implement the Action Plan”.

Professor Sir Paul Curran, President of City, University of London, commented:

“A commitment to Diversity & Equality is one of the five values we share at City and, like the others, it underpins our Vision & Strategy 2026. Although we intend, in time, to address other aspects of Diversity & Equality, gaining the Athena SWAN Bronze Award is a powerful statement about our commitment to gender equality.

"I will ensure that we implement actions over the next four years and make appropriate investments to support them. Some will be completed quickly but more importantly, we are setting the foundation for lasting structural changes to the benefit of our staff, students and ultimately the institution.

“I do not underestimate the challenge but remain confident that with the energy of colleagues across City and the sustained commitment of the senior team we will succeed in achieving significant change”.

City’s Athena SWAN application and Action Plan can be found here.

Athena SWAN awards are available in Bronze, Silver and Gold at both institution and departmental level. Universities must achieve at least a Bronze Award before individual departments can apply for recognition at Bronze, Silver or Gold levels.

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