Athena Swan

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.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

In the news - We’ve Come a Long Way But…

Athene Donald's weekly blog, hosted by Occam's Typewriter, regularly touches on life as a female academic (she's a professor of physics at Cambridge). But she has also been heavily involved in the development of the Athena SWAN charter, including chairing the committee which oversees them. This week's entry looks back over 16 years of championing women in academia through the Athena process, and ponders what comes next as the scheme is expanded beyond STEM subjects.

When it comes to women in science, the Athena Swan ‘brand’ is well established. By now, universities up and down the country are signed up to the Athena Swan Charter and many departments are seriously engaged with the process. Nevertheless there are still many that are not, and even of those that apparently are there is the danger that some see it as no more than a tick-box exercise in order to get the necessary seal of approval. Now the Athena Swan process is being expanded to other disciplines we have to hope that the good work that the awards have engendered is not diluted or weakened by trying to create a ‘one size fits all’ process which ends up not addressing the fundamental issues in different disciplines.

Read more here.

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