Aston University recognised by Athena SWAN Charter

Biology lab

17th August, 2010

Aston University has received a bronze award from the Athena SWAN Charter in recognition of its support for women in Science, Engineering & Technology (SET).

The award has been granted as a result of Aston’s excellent practice in, and on-going commitment to, the career progression of female academics and researchers in SET subjects.

Professor Julia King, Vice-Chancellor, said, "This is really excellent news. We are delighted to join a select group of universities who hold this award. We still don’t have strong enough representation of women in science, engineering, technology and mathematics in academia.   I hope this award will encourage both our existing women academics and potential ones that Aston is committed to supporting their progress to the most senior positions."

The Athena SWAN Charter, funded by the Equality Challenge Unit and the UKRC, aims to encourage institutions to recruit, retain and promote women in SET in higher education and research. Currently only 5.3% of working women are in science, engineering and technology roles, and the Charter aims to increase that figure.

Aston University established an Athena Swan task group in May 2009 made up of staff from the Schools of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Life and Health Sciences, led by the Pro-Vice Chancellor Professor Alison Halstead, to closely examine representation of women at all levels and roles in these Schools.

Professor Halstead commented, "Analysing institutional data by gender as required for the Bronze Award and developing our action plan has been useful in recognising that we need to further increase the external profile of our female science and engineering staff as well as continuing to address the gender imbalance in the Seniority Profile. We also have plans for a career mentoring scheme which we intend to implement over the next twelve months".