Athena SWAN awards, and the application process involved, help the University and its Schools to identify actions which can be taken to improve the recruitment, retention and career development of female academics. The process of reviewing and establishing good working practices around induction, staff development, training and flexible working as part of an Athena SWAN submission benefits the whole workforce and supports the establishment of a diverse workforce with the ability to deliver both excellent teaching and research to maintain competitive advantage.
In some research areas, future funding is likely to be tied to an institution’s commitment to equality and diversity. Research Councils UK and other funders of research are increasingly likely to expect evidence of commitment to equality and diversity in the form of Athena SWAN awards or similar.
Last year I was lucky enough to be sent on a management course specifically for women in academia. Recognising that women, particularly in STEM subjects, are less likely to move into management roles was very valuable and I found the course incredibly beneficial. It has inspired me to work towards attaining more experience and training in this aspect of my work which will hopefully help me progress in future years.
Dr Laura Waters - School of Applied Sciences
Construction industry in the UK traditionally has had a very low percentage of women architects. Worked in the industry as a charted architect for a few years, and now teaching in the university, I feel it is extremely important to encourage female architectural students, who are counted nearly half of the student cohorts, to carry on their studies and practices in architecture throughout all the different stages in order to become qualified architects. I will attend a management course next year specifically for women in academia to help myself to understand more how to inspire my students and also to help myself to progress into the future management roles.
Dr Yun Gao - Senior Lecturer in Architecture - School of Applied Sciences