Athena Swan promotes and supports the careers of women in Science, Engineering and Technology (STEM), and aims to address gender inequalities and imbalance in these disciplines and, in particular, the under-representation of women in senior roles.
In the news - Academia for women: short maternity leave, few part-time roles and lower pay
Equality Challenge Unit figures reveal a dismal picture for female academics with the continued dominance of men in the sector.
Sophia Latham, 39, has just been appointed to a tenure track fellowship at the Institute of Infection and Global Health at Liverpool University. After five years, if all goes to plan, she will end up with a permanent job. What makes her promotion unusual is that Latham was appointed to the role on a part-time basis only a few weeks after returning to work from maternity leave. “I haven’t seen this kind of prestigious role offered part-time anywhere else,” she says. “Normally if you are looking for a part-time position, you are looking at term-time teaching roles.”
Latham is one of the lucky ones. Female academics find it disproportionately difficult to juggle their career and parenthood. Fewer professors, lecturers and researchers at some leading universities are taking maternity leave than in 2010, while at others there has been little or no improvement.
If more women were being promoted into staff and senior jobs, the numbers taking maternity leave would rise. Instead they are stagnating, or, worryingly, in some cases, falling. That’s the finding of new research by Education Guardian and comes as figures published on Tuesday reveal a persistent pay gap, the continued dominance of men in senior roles, and very few permanent part-time academic jobs.