Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)

Athena SWAN Bronze Award

Advancing Equality and Diversity in the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Over the past years, we have developed our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) agenda and this is now solidly embedded throughout all levels and activities. In 2019, the School successfully achieved an Athena Swan Bronze Award. This demonstrates the School's self-assessment of barriers to female scientists' representation, career progression and all staff's work-life balance, in addition to a workable action plan for change.

In addition to focusing on gender, we are working to recognise our many forms of difference, and the impact and contribution these differences have on the life and work of both students and staff. Therefore the work of the committee is focused on making the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Science an inclusive place for everyone.

The Athena SWAN Charter was established by the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU) in 2005 to encourage and reward Higher Education institutions in their support of the presence and progression of women in the STEMM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Medicine). Besides extending into the AHSSBL fields (arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law), Athena Swan now also recognises efforts regarding HE professional and support roles. Beyond tackling barriers to women’s academic progression, the Athena charter presently covers broader issues of gender equality and of a fair working environment for all.

Our Athena Swan/Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) committee is now striving to show the successful impact of our Bronze action plan. The Bronze award and action plan are part of a wider network of E&D and Athena Swan initiatives across the University of Birmingham, aimed at promoting equality and diversity, work-life balance and the careers of women in HE.


Equality and Social Justice in a Changing World: Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences approaches

20 February 2018 - 10:00-17:00

The School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences will be marking the UN’s World Day of Social Justice on 20 February 2018 with a day of events, talks, social activities, films, debate and listening exercises, and an international shared lunch as part of our School’s commitment to equality and diversity. 

Download the event poster here

Symposium: 'Embodying Geographies: research intensive diversity work' - 9 October 2017

The School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences held a one-day E&D Symposium in October to discuss why diversity in science matters, and how fairness and equality can be promoted through the academic workplace.

Visit the Embodied Geographies website here


(c) Shaheen Ahmed provided an artistic response to the themes of the day

The School EDI/Athena SWAN Committee:

E&D committee Terms of Reference

Therefore, in the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences we established the following practices:

  • The Athena Swan/E&D Lead sits in the School Executive Committee, reporting on E&D matters as a standing agenda item
  • A School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences Athena SWAN/Equality, Diversity and Inclusion champion and a student welfare and gender equality representative have been instituted and embedded in the wider UoB’s E&D / Athena Swan agenda
  • All school committees are assessed for gender balance
  • All job adverts contain an equal opportunities statement, welcoming applications from female and BME staff and all those seeking flexible working  arrangements
  • Online diversity training is now a compulsory requirement for members of interview panels in staff recruitment
  • Student handbooks and teaching sessions and staff induction materials include dedicated sections and statements on Athena SWAN commitments and roles
  • Students are encouraged to get involved as E&D champions and sit on Staff-Student Consultation Committee. A role description for the Student E&D champions is in place and direct communication between the Student E&D champions and the School’s E&D committee has been established.
  • Caring commitments and part-time work are accommodated in the new block teaching timetable, and school activities (seminars, away days…) are held within core business areas to broaden participation from speakers and staff
  • Maternity leave workload remission policies are in place
  • PERCAT career development training for early-career and post-doctoral staff
  • School Seminars take place within core business hours ensuring that speakers and audience members with caring commitments can participate

As part of a wider network of E&D initiatives across campus, our school implements the following university-wide policies:


A family-friendly campus: Layla at the GEES Open Day and Bella posing with ‘Old Joe’ clock tower