Advancing Equality in Higher Education: an exploratory study of the Athena SWAN and Race Equality Charters


The British AcademyA British Academy/Leverhulme Grant
2018 - 2019
Principal investigator
Professor Kalwant Bhopal

Women and Black and Minority Ethnic groups are significantly under-represented in universities’ senior decision-making roles. Two ‘charter’ schemes have been introduced to address the situation: the Athena SWAN Charter (ASC) and the Race Equality Charter (REC). This project will explore aspects of good practice in institutions that have succeeded in securing accreditation at the first level (Bronze).

The study objectives are:

  • to explore the impact of the charter marks on work practices;
  • to explore good practice and how it can be improved;
  • to identify key themes and issues for future research and policy-making.

The project will conduct 16 in-depth interviews in eight institutions. Interviews with the Diversity and Equality officer and a member of the self-assessment team will take place in four institutions awarded a Bronze ASC and four comparable institutions awarded a Bronze REC. Data dissemination will include a summary of findings for each university, academic journal articles and a workshop to share good practice with universities intending to apply for the ASC and/or REC.


Kalwant Bhopal and Holly Henderson (2019) Advancing Equality in Higher Education: An Exploratory Study of the Athena SWAN and Race Equality Charters. University of Birmingham.