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Athena Swan

Northumbria University’s Athena SWAN Bronze Award demonstrates our commitment to addressing and promoting gender equality across the University.

Athena SWAN Bronze Award logoWhat is the Athena Swan Charter?

The Athena Swan Charter is a national charter mark that recognises the advancement of gender equality in academia, encompassing representation, progression, and success for all. 

The Athena Swan Charter was originally 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 cover gender equality in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL) disciplines, as well as to include a focus on professional and support staff members working in the Higher Education sector, and on the issues facing trans staff and students. The Athena Swan Charter now recognises work undertaken to address gender equality more broadly, and not just barriers to progression that affect women.

Athena Swan Principles                                                                                                                                                

In supporting the Athena Swan Charter, Northumbria University has signed up to the 10 key principles; we embed these principles within our policies, practices, action plans and culture. We commit to:

1. adopting robust, transparent and accountable processes for gender equality work, including:

     a. embedding diversity, equity and inclusion in our culture, decision-making and partnerships, and holding ourselves and others in our institution/institute/department accountable

     b. undertaking evidence-based, transparent self-assessment processes to direct our priorities and interventions for gender equality, and evaluating our progress to inform our continuous development

     c. ensuring that gender equality work is distributed appropriately, is recognised and properly rewarded.

2. addressing structural inequalities and social injustices that manifest as differential experiences and outcomes for staff and students.

3. tackling behaviours and cultures that detract from the safety and collegiality of our work and study environments for people of all genders, including not tolerating gender-based violence, discrimination, bullying, harassment or exploitation.

4. understanding and addressing intersectional inequalities.

5. fostering collective understanding that individuals have the right to determine their own gender identity, and tackling the specific issues faced by trans and non-binary people because of their identity.

6. examining gendered occupational segregation, and elevating the status, voice and career opportunities of any identified under-valued and at-risk groups.

7. mitigating the gendered impact of caring responsibilities and career breaks, and supporting flexibility and the maintenance of a healthy 'whole life balance'.

8. mitigating the gendered impact of short-term and casual contracts for staff seeking sustainable careers.


In addition to the Bronze Athena Swan award for the whole University, we currently hold the following 7 Athena Swan awards:

Bronze Award for the:

  • Department of Applied Sciences
  • Faculty of Business and Law
  • Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences
  • Department of Nursing Midwifery and Health
  • Department of Psychology
  • Department of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation
  • Department of Social Work, Education and Community Wellbeing

Self-Assessment Team                                                                                                                                                  

The University Athena Swan Self-Assessment Team's (U-SAT) role is to track the University’s work towards gender equality and oversee the institutional Athena Swan application.

The team is diverse, consisting of academics, professional support staff and students; it has representation from both women and men. The membership is also a mix of volunteers and relevant post holders. 

The U-SAT is chaired by Caron Gentry, Faculty Pro Vice-Chancellor, Faculty of Arts, Design and Social Sciences. 


For more information on the charter, please visit the Athena Swan and Advance HE website.


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