Celebrating Athena SWAN's birthday.

Issued: Thu, 21 Jun 2018 15:09:00 BST

As the Athena SWAN Charter celebrates its 13th birthday, we mark 5 years since the University of Glasgow’s first Institutional Bronze Award. Here, we celebrate the impact on female leadership, support for parental leave returners, and the way that the principles have been embraced by Schools, Research Institutes and University Service areas across the institution.

The University benefits from strong female leadership, with a 50-50 gender balance on the Senior Management Group. In 2018, the University celebrates the first woman appointed as Clerk of Senate since the role’s creation 290 years ago. This progress resonates with the University’s commitment under Athena SWAN to improve leadership development opportunities for women. Since 2014/15, the University has supported 62 women in academic and professional service roles on the Aurora Leadership Programme. Of the first three cohorts, 45% subsequently achieved academic promotion or promoted posts in professional roles – further advancing their leadership journeys.

The importance of support on return from maternity leave was identified as crucial for career progression by academic colleagues during consultation for the University’s first Athena SWAN submission. The introduction of Academic Returners and Research Support Schemes was, therefore, prioritised in the original Bronze Action Plan. Under the scheme, research active academic members of staff can apply for up to £10k to support the resumption of their research on return from an extended period of parental leave. In its first three years, the Scheme, which is financed by Colleges within the University, has funded approximately £300k towards supporting the research of those returning from leave. Success of the Scheme has been due to strong engagement with it at a College-level.

Support for parents applies, of course, to students as well as staff. The University’s active and progressive student community is supported by an engaged and inclusive Student Representative Council (SRC). This year, the SRC has worked with student parents and the University Library to create a Family Study Lounge, thus enabling student parents and carers to bring their children to the Library while they study. These bottom-up initiatives are vital to the implementation and success of the Charter.

Athena SWAN Gold logo Advance HE Athena SWAN Silver logo Athena SWAN Bronze Award logo

 The University’s Schools and Research Institutes currently hold 18 Departmental Awards (1 Gold; 3 Silver; 14 Bronze). The commitment and continued efforts of Athena SWAN leads and SATs is vital to successfully embed the Charter across the institution. The University introduced recommended workload allocations for Athena SWAN roles; leadership of Athena SWAN SATs is recognised in promotion and in performance and development review processes; and, since 2016, the University has hosted an annual reception for all SAT leads and members to acknowledge and celebrate their achievements.

Whilst celebrating achievements under the Athena SWAN Charter, we remain mindful of the work still to be done. In particular, on the gender pay gap and support for colleagues in professional services roles. Our transition to the post-May process at the earliest opportunity reflects the University’s ambitions to adopt a more progressive approach through the expanded Charter principles and we look forward to being a part of the Charter’s continued evolution and success.