Computer Science Athena Swan Activities

There is a global movement to tackle the gender disparities that are widely observed in Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Medicine (STEMM) subjects.  ECU’s Athena SWAN Charter was established in 2005 to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in STEMM in higher education and research. Through its 3 levels of awards (Bronze, Silver and Gold), Athena SWAN recognises and celebrates good practice on recruiting, retaining, and promoting women in higher education

  

 The CS Department currently holds a Bronze Award and is applying for a Silver. Part of our application for this award involves a description of the activities we have been doing for the past 3 years for our students and staff as well as outreach to schools. We named our proposed activities AAAAction and identified four broad areas, each with associated action goals.

ARRIVE – Low numbers of schoolgirls are interested in CS. Our aim is to see equality in the male to female ratio.

Action goals:

1.    Change attitudes to Computer Science amongst girls aged 9-18.

2.    Provide thought leadership and education to school educators.

3.    Ensure that all outreach events become, on average, 50% female.

ASPIRE  - Undergraduate women in CS are a small minority. We will provide multiple avenues for peer support and industry interaction for their academic, professional and personal development.

Action goals:

1.    Develop a supportive community of female CS students at all levels.

2.    Provide CS female students opportunities for networking, professional development, mentoring, and outreach activities.

ACHIEVE – There are lower than expected numbers of undergraduate women in CS attaining the highest levels of degrees. Our aim is to see equality in degree classification attainment.

Action goals:

1.   Design interventions to produce more undergraduate women gaining 1st and 2:1 degrees

2.    Imbed real-world use and interaction into the undergraduate programme

ADVANCE – The ratio of women to men gets worse as you climb the academic ranks. Our aim is to obtain equality in female and male progression.

Action goals:

1.    Put in place Proleptic appointments for progression from fellowship to lectureship.

2.  Provide support and training to help postdocs and PhD students in applying for fellowships.

3.    Promotion at all grades to have gender equality.

Athena Swan Charter

Recognising advancement of gender equality: representation, progression and success for all.

 

ECU’s Athena SWAN Charter was established in 2005 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. 

In May 2015 the charter was expanded to recognise work undertaken in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL), and in professional and support roles, and for trans staff and students. The charter now recognises work undertaken to address gender equality more broadly, and not just barriers to progression that affect women.


ECU’s Athena SWAN Charter covers women (and men where appropriate) in:

  • academic roles in STEMM and AHSSBL
  • professional and support staff
  • trans staff and students


In relation to their:

  • representation
  • progression of students into academia
  • journey through career milestones
  • working environment for all staff

 

 

About ECU’s Athena SWAN Charter

ECU's Athena SWAN principles form the basis of the charter. They relate to the May 2015 criteria and process.

In May 2015 the charter was expanded to recognise work undertaken in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL), and in professional and support roles, and for trans staff and students. The charter now recognises work undertaken to address gender equality more broadly, and not just barriers to progression that affect women.

The Athena SWAN Charter is based on ten key principles. By being part of Athena SWAN, institutions are committing to a progressive charter; adopting these principles within their policies, practices, action plans and culture.

1. We acknowledge that academia cannot reach its full potential unless it can benefit from the talents of all.

 

2. We commit to advancing gender equality in academia, in particular, addressing the loss of women across the career pipeline and the absence of women from senior academic, professional and support roles.

 

3. We commit to addressing unequal gender representation across academic disciplines and professional and support functions. In this we recognise disciplinary differences including:

  • the relative underrepresentation of women in senior roles in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL)
  • the particularly high loss rate of women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM)

 

4. We commit to tackling the gender pay gap.

 

5. We commit to removing the obstacles faced by women, in particular, at major points of career development and progression including the transition from PhD into a sustainable academic career.

 

6. We commit to addressing the negative consequences of using short-term contracts for the retention and progression of staff in academia, particularly women.

 

7. We commit to tackling the discriminatory treatment often experienced by trans people.

 

8. We acknowledge that advancing gender equality demands commitment and action from all levels of the organisation and in particular active leadership from those in senior roles.

 

9. We commit to making and mainstreaming sustainable structural and cultural changes to advance gender equality, recognising that initiatives and actions that support individuals alone will not sufficiently advance equality.

 

10. All individuals have identities shaped by several different factors. We commit to considering the intersection of gender and other factors wherever possible.

Developing ECU’s Athena SWAN Charter

ECU’s Athena SWAN Charter evolved from work between the Athena Project and the Scientific Women’s Academic Network (SWAN), to advance the representation of women in science, technology, engineering, medicine and mathematics (STEMM).

 

 With the support of Equality Challenge Unit (ECU) and the UKRC, the Charter was officially launched at the Institute of Physics on 22 June 2005, with the first awards conferred in 2006.

 

 

In May 2015 the scope of ECU’s Athena SWAN Charter was expanded to cover gender equality in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law disciplines.

 

 Find out more about the development of ECU’s Athena SWAN and other equality charters: 

ECU’s Equality Charters