Athena SWAN in SHW

LGBTQ+ staff and student issues, aspirations and development

Photo of trans and lgbt flags


Avril Johnstone and Caroline Haig

Who can join this group?

The same way all colours joined together make the rainbow and all LGBTQ+ flags, all types of people can make the Athena Swan LGBTQ+ Working Group. Anyone can be what we like calling an "ally". We welcome anyone who is willing to contribute to the group, independently of gender identity or sexual orientation. We expect the group to be as diverse as possible, and include staff members and students from a range of grades, job families, and ages.


The main aims of the LGBTQ+ group are:

  • To collect and report on data related to LGBTQ+ workers and students within SHW;
  • To identify and address any issue regarding working environment experienced by LGBTQ+ SHW staff members and students;
  • To identify and address any issue regarding equal opportunities experienced by LGBTQ+ SHW staff members and students;
  • To report on career and personal development opportunities in the LGBTQ+ theme for staff and students in SHW, including managerial staff members;
  • To monitor and feedback on LGBTQ+ related activities;
  • To include LGBTQ+ related training in the new staff and line manager induction material, and monitor its effect;
  • To ensure the interests of the LGBTQ+ community are well represented within SHW.


Although this working group is relatively new, some meetings were arranged between its chairs and stakeholders to brainstorm on the priorities and activities of the group. We aim to officially have our first meeting with all the allies soon to discuss ideas and list actions for the upcoming months.

In 2021, we appointed a safe-ally (Kate O'Donnell) and a safe community member (Fiona Caryl). 

Our safe allies, Kate (Kate.O' and Fiona ( are both available should you wish to chat to someone in confidence. 

Our LGBTQ+ Athena Swan safe allies exist to ensure the SHW is a safe, supportive and inclusive environment for everyone. They champion LGBTQ+ issues and are available as a safe and confidential point of contact for anyone wishing to discuss any concerns. For more serious matters, we encourage contact with the university-appointed respect advisers.