Leeds Beckett submits Athena SWAN Bronze Award entry
The Athena SWAN Charter was established in 2005 by the Equality Challenge Unit and is awarded to organisations to recognise their commitment to, and progress on, gender equality. The Charter initially set out to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment in higher education and research. This was extended in 2015 to recognise work undertaken in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law, and for those working in professional and support roles.
Our University has been a member of the Athena Charter since 2014. Our motivation for submitting an application is to enhance the representation of both women and men within the working environment. We want to ensure the availability of career and development opportunities and to promote gender equality. Our submission initially will focus on the STEMM areas across our institution within the areas of: Built Environment and Engineering; Clinical and Applied Sciences; Computing; Creative Technologies and Engineering; Sport; Architecture, Built Environment and Planning; Psychology and Nursing.
The Chair of our Athena SWAN committee and Deputy Vice Chancellor Andrew Slade said: “Research at Leeds Beckett University is growing from strength to strength, therefore, it is extremely important to recognise our staff’s commitment to STEMM research and our institutional commitment to gender equality”.
Benefits for staff include changing culture and attitudes, improvements to career satisfaction, creating opportunities for training and development, enhancing knowledge of promotion processes and achieving fairness in the allocation of workload. These benefits extend to men as well as those working in technical and administrative roles.
The Athena SWAN charter mark also has a perceived value with research funding bodies and increases our ability to compete successfully with other higher education institutions. It allows us to demonstrate our progress and highlight our improvements to gender equality in our workplace. The submission compliments our University’s new Strategic Plan, in particular, the aim of achieving ‘leading research and academic enterprise’.
Professor Dorothy Monekosso, Professor of Computer Science in the School of Computing, Creative Technologies and Engineering said: “The university will be remiss of its wider societal role if it does not recognise and reward the contribution of all its staff. The Athena SWAN committee is engaging in a process to identify practices and policies, processes and procedures that may negatively impact some colleagues and propose an action plan for improvement. The committee will continue working beyond the submission of our application as this is intended to be a continuing endeavour.”
For more information about the University's commitment to gender equality, please visit our Athena SWAN page.