Accessibility statement

Athena SWAN 

AdvanceHE’s Athena SWAN Charter was established in 2005 to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment in higher education and research. In May 2015 the charter was expanded to recognise work undertaken in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL), and in professional and support roles, and for trans staff and students. The charter now recognises work undertaken to address gender equality more broadly, and not just barriers to progression that affect women.

In 2007, York Chemistry was the first department nationally to win an Athena SWAN Gold giving the Department immediate beacon status for its good equality practice. The award, which recognises 'significant and sustained progression and achievement in promoting gender equality' was renewed in 2010 and 2015. In May 2019, the department received its first Athena SWAN Gold Award under the revised charter, making it the longest held Gold Award nationally. Athena SWAN Gold Award news story.

Our 2018 Athena SWAN Gold Award submission document is available for download from the University Athena SWAN pages.

Our aims and achievements

Our aims

Our aims

Our Equality and Diversity strategy is informed by our surveys, accurate data/statistics and their analysis and is focused on clear, measurable and ambitious targets.

Our work is underpinned at all levels by the evidence from the social sciences. This evidence has been drawn from a variety of sources, several of which have been discussed at length by the Equality and Diversity Group. For instance, our focus on unconscious bias stems from well-established psychology studies. In another example, our focus on "quality over quantity" is evidenced by studies in academic behaviour on publishing. Our approach to academic appointments is informed by the known pitfalls of assessing applicants whilst under stress. Links to articles and resources can be found in the Resource Hub.

We recognise our particular responsibility to act as a beacon department for equality practice. We specifically see this promotion extending into subjects beyond STEM, into AHSSBL departments, HEI management, professional societies and onto an international stage.  A list of external talks given by members of the Equality and Diversity Group can be found on the beacon activity page.

Our achievements

Our achievements

  • Introduced diversity training for all UG and PG students
  • Introduced Departmental maternity, paternity and adoption guidelines
  • Increased uptake of part-time and flexible working by both men and women
  • 100% return rate from maternity leave
  • Held Departmental Culture Surveys for all staff and students
  • Improvements in induction for new staff including allocation of mentors and inclusion of information on inclusivity
  • Revised advertising material to include more equality information
  • Introduction of researchers forum and increased researcher representation on committees
  • Equality and Diversity brief for Academic Group leaders including unconscious bias training for Academic Group Leaders
  • Introduction of a Quiet Room for staff
  • Unconscious bias awareness and training activities held for all recruitment panels
  • Unconscious bias observers now observe and advise recruitment panels for all departmental vacancies
  • Held LGBTQ+ events and identified LGBTQ+ contacts
  • Introduced All Gender Welcome WCs and trans awareness training


New resource: Menopause support