The University of Birmingham has achieved two prestigious awards from the Athena SWAN Foundation, recognising its commitment to gender equality.
The School of Engineering has achieved an Athena SWAN Bronze Award for the first time, while the University as an institution, has had its 2014 Bronze Award renewed.
Athena SWAN Awards, overseen by Advance HE, promote and reward good employment practice in the recruitment, retention and progression of female academics in all disciplines. Alongside the University’s award, 10 Schools within the University now hold Athena SWAN awards.
Professor Jo Duberley, Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) at the University of Birmingham, says: “We very proud that the University has retained its Bronze Award and particularly delighted that our School of Engineering has joined a growing number of our Schools who are actively and effectively demonstrating their commitment to equality and diversity in academia.”
A particular success recognised by Athena is the University’s focus on increasing the proportion of women in senior academic posts. The proportion of female Professors across the institution has risen from 20% in at the time of our 2014 award to 28% in 2019.
In the School of Engineering, equality initiatives include:
- A focus on ensuring a good proportion of female ambassadors are available to act as role models on Open Days and Offer Holder Days
- Offer childcare on campus during these events
- Ensuring the diverse population of the School is represented in publications and web pages
- Increasing the visibility of subjects, such as Biomedical Engineering, that attract more application from female students and researchers
- Organising events which showcase opportunities for women.
Professor Clive Roberts, Head of the School of Engineering, says: “As a school, we are continually striving to attract and retain talented female students and researchers. We recognise that, across the engineering sector as a whole, there are still barriers to be overcome in achieving gender equality, but in achieving this Award we demonstrate our ongoing commitment to tackling those barriers and promoting a sustained culture of equality and inclusion in our School.”
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