Athena SWAN Bronze Award

The School of Geography and the Environment is committed to enhancing diversity and promoting equality of opportunity amongst all our staff and students. We are proud of our Athena SWAN Bronze Award, achieved in April 2017, which recognises our ongoing commitment to gender equality, although our aim is to promote equality of opportunity for all.

Our Athena SWAN submission included a detailed Action Plan for the next 4 years, to help us address our department's main equality and diversity challenges:

  • Increasing representation of women within our academic staff
  • Enhancing career progression for female staff and students
  • Improving the working environment for all staff (academic, managerial, technical and support)

The Athena SWAN Charter was established in 2005 to promote career advancement for women employed in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) in higher education and research. In 2015 the Charter was extended to recognise work undertaken in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law.

The School's Equality and Diversity Committee oversees the implementation of our Athena SWAN actions, aimed at making the School an even better place in which to work and study. Some of our achievements to date include:

  • Introduction of Personal Development Review (PDR) for all staff
  • Implicit bias training for all staff involved in recruitment and student admissions
  • Workload model for academic staff, ensuring a fair distribution of teaching and other responsibilities
  • No all-male panels at seminars and events in the School
  • Monthly Athena SWAN coffee mornings for all staff and students
  • New School-wide mentoring scheme
  • New Privacy Room for feeding and changing babies, and for prayer
  • Celebrating Women Alumnae, bringing twelve of the School's inspirational alumnae together to share their career and life experiences, in person at a special event in January 2018 and on film.

In September 2017 the department launched a new mentoring scheme, open to all staff and DPhil students. The Geography and the Environment Mentoring Scheme - known as 'GEMS' - is open to any member of staff or DPhil student. It aims to help staff and students achieve personal and professional growth, with the support and guidance of a more experienced mentor. Mentees can take a fresh look at their career, skills and work-life balance, while mentors are able to give something back by helping other members of the School to succeed. As well as helping the individuals involved, mentoring can have wider benefits for the department. Staff who are more supported tend to be more motivated, more skilled and more successful. With mentors and mentees drawn from across the department, the School hopes to build an even more collegial and cohesive community of staff and students.

Inclusive Conference Guide

Read our best practice guide, designed to help event organisers promote diversity of attendance and inclusivity of participation.

Future Plans

We have a number of new initiatives and improvements planned, including:

  • Improved induction process for all staff
  • Greater transparency in reward and recognition processes
  • Promotion of family-friendly, flexible working policies
  • Encouraging more female applicants for academic and research posts, and more support for women's career progression
  • Ensuring no gender imbalance in student exam performance

Contact us

For more information about Athena SWAN or equality and diversity more broadly please contact Dr Claire Hann (, Equality and Diversity Officer at the School of Geography and the Environment.

Latest Equality and Diversity News

More news