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Athena SWAN

The 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.

The 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.

The Athena SWAN Charter is based on ten key principles. By being part of Athena SWAN, Northumbria is committing to a progressive charter; adopting these principles within our 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 under-representation 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.

Click the link to find out more about Athena SWAN and Advance HE



Northumbria University currently hold a bronze institutional award. Our bronze award was awarded in 2015 under the pre-2015 criteria.

In November 2018 we resubmitted an application and new action plan for a bronze award under the expanded criteria and we are awaiting the decision.  

As part of the university’s commitment to Athena Swan and wider equality, diversity and inclusion, the University has set up a Director of Equality and Diversity in each academic Faculty to coordinate the work in this area across the departments in each faculty and to liaise across the wider university.

Each academic department across the University has now established a Departmental Self-Assessment team and they are currently developing their departmental Athena SWAN applications and action plans.


Member of the University Self-Assessment Team  


Lucy Winskell, Pro Vice Chancellor (Employability and Partnerships)

Deputy Chair

Prof Rebecca Strachan, Faculty Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor

Faculty Representative

Prof Jamie Callahan – Faculty of Business and Law

Dr Katy Jenkins – Faculty of Arts, Design and Social Sciences

Dr Roger Penlington/David Morton – Faculty of Engineering

Dr Su McAnelly – Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

Representative from professional services, students and specialist experts 

Adam Dawkins

Andrew Lane

Anna Munro

Daniel Thomson

Emrys Pritchard

Georgina Bailes

Katie Adams

Lorraine Masters

Muriel Campion

Ryan Bush

Scott McGee

Sean Stephenson

Sharon Stewart

Tim Baxter

Tina Hannant


Useful Resources and Links

More information can be found about this exciting and innovative widening participation initiative on the NUSTEM website

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Think Physics is a collaborative project led by Northumbria University using physics to inspire young people, particularly women, into Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines.


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