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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.

GeAthena 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.


We have held an Athena Swan Bronze award since 2015. In December 2019, we submitted a successful renewal application allowing us to retain the Institutional Bronze award. 

We now also have Athena Swan Bronze Awards for all academic departments/faculty:

Bronze Award for the:

  • Department of Applied Sciences
  • Department of Architecture and Built Environment
  • Department of Art and Design
  • Department of Computer and Information Sciences
  • Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences
  • Department of Humanities
  • Department of Mathematics, Physics and Electrical Engineering
  • Department of Mechanical and Construction Engineering
  • Department of Nursing Midwifery and Health
  • Department of Psychology
  • Department of Social Sciences
  • Department of Social Work, Education and Community Wellbeing
  • Department of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation
  • Faculty of Business and Law

Self-Assessment Team                                                                                                                                                  

The role of the University Gender Equality Steering Group 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 Gender Equality Steering Group 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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