Athena SWAN Application
What’s the difference between Silver and Gold award? How does it affect our department and are we applying for Silver or Gold?
What is Athena SWAN and Self-Assessment Team?
The work of the Athena SWAN Self-Assessment Team (SAT) and Better Workplace groups seeks to improve working life for all staff and students and to encourage engagement and inclusion in the department whilst taking practical steps towards the advancement of equality. The department and university are committed to the Athena Swan Charter adopting their 10 principles within policies, practices, action plans and culture.
award aspirations, Silver or Gold?
In recognition of the department's actions to support these principles, we currently hold an Athena SWAN Silver Award.
Gold Awards are rarely given (there is one medical department in the country with a Gold award) and they require evidence of significant and sustained progression towards the principles, and demonstrable continued impact. In addition, a Gold Award calls for "Beacon Activity" which promotes good practice to the wider community within and/or beyond the University and disciplinary field.
Athena SWAN challenges our culture and processes through its requirements to scrutinise and report data and work on ambitious actions. The Self-Assessment Team believes that aspiring for a Gold award will help focus our attention and actions to be an inclusive and engaging workplace.
next athena swan application
At the end of 2020 the SAT updated the department's action plan and successfully applied for an extension of the department's Silver award. Creating a better, more inclusive and engaging workplace for all staff and students is our priority regardless of accreditation and will not stop when an award is achieved. With the intention to submit in Summer 2022 the SAT are preparing a Gold application.
Previous Announcements - Athena SWAN and NIHR
Athena SWAN Update – September 2020
The following was included in the department newsletter on 11th September 2020; the ‘Bureaucracy Busting’ announcement about the removal of the Athena SWAN Silver requirement is likely to cause some concern in EDI circles and we were keen to emphasise that this does not change NDPCHS’s commitment to aspire for a Gold award.
- NIHR infrastructure funding, the Athena SWAN charter and EDI
For the last 9 years NIHR has required that academic partners applying for some NIHR infrastructure awards and for Integrated Academic Training (IAT) posts hold a Silver level Award of the Athena SWAN Charter to be eligible to receive designation and funding. As part of reducing the ‘bureaucratic burden’ ‘NIHR will no longer require academic partners applying for some NIHR Infrastructure awards and for Integrated Academic Training (IAT) posts to hold a Silver Award of the Athena SWAN charter for Women in Science.'
The document states that NIHR remains committed to actively and openly supporting and promoting equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) and organisations applying for funding will be expected to demonstrate ‘their commitment to tackling disadvantage and discrimination in respect of the nine protected characteristics set out in the Equality Act (2010). These are: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation’.
The NDPCHS experience of Athena SWAN is that it challenges our culture and processes through its requirements to scrutinise and report data and work on ambitious actions. We are committed to creating a better, more inclusive and engaging workplace for all staff and students, regardless of external requirements from NIHR.
We will continue in 2021 to work towards a Gold Athena SWAN application because aspiring for Gold helps focus our attention and actions to be an inclusive and engaging workplace.
Richard Hobbs, Nicola Small, Sue Ziebland