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Northumbria collects Athena SWAN Bronze award for gender equality

12th January 2016

Representatives from Northumbria travelled to an award ceremony held at Oxford University to collect the university’s Athena SWAN Bronze award for gender equality.

Established in 2005, the prestigious award recognises and celebrates support provided for women's academic careers in science, engineering, technology, mathematics and medicine (STEMM).

Institutions which meet Athena SWAN accreditation demonstrate their commitment to ten key principles and adopt these principles within their policies, practices, action plans and culture.

Northumbria was granted the accreditation earlier this year after a University Self-Assessment Team conducted a rigorous assessment of many factors associated with equality of opportunity, training and promotion for women.

The University has an ongoing commitment to gender equality with a number of policies and practices in place. These include NUWise, a network established to support and develop the careers of female staff and PhD students working in science, engineering and technology areas at Northumbria, and Think Physics, a collaborative project funded by HEFCE using physics to inspire young people – particularly women – to work and study in these disciplines.

The award itself was collected by Dr Rosemary Bass, Reader in Biomedical Sciences, and Dr Sara Lombardo, Reader in Applied Mathematics, both members of the Self-Assessment Team.

Dr Bass said:

“Sara and I had a great day in Oxford accepting the Athena SWAN bronze award on behalf of Northumbria.  We heard from some inspirational speakers about the importance of being aware of equality and the Athena SWAN agenda at all levels.  It struck me that the first institution to have an institutional gold award will be able to pick from the best of international staff – as I would certainly want to work there.  A large ambition, but one we should definitely think about!”

The assessment process was overseen by Professor Glen McHale, Executive Dean of Engineering and Environment. Looking forward, the University has drawn up a three-year action plan to address matters of equality identified by the self-assessment process.

Dr Lombardo said:

“Hearing what silver and gold award Institutions have done in terms of equality and diversity has been challenging and inspiring. We look forward to celebrate the award at Northumbria and to implement our action plan, the journey has just begun!”

Professor McHale added:

“I am delighted the efforts of the University and the Self-Assessment Team have been recognised, and I very much look forward to continuing to work with colleagues across the University in ensuring we provide an equitable and supportive environment for all our staff.”

Further information on the Athena SWAN charter, departmental contacts and the Athena SWAN action plan can be found on our dedicated pages at: https://www.northumbria.ac.uk/about-us/equality-and-diversity/athena-swan/

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