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 now 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 activty 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 mentor 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 advice recruitment panels for all departmental vacancies
  • Held a departmental LGBT+ survey and identified LGBT+ contacts
  • Introduced All Gender Welcome WCs and trans* awareness training
  • Hosted the Joliot-Curie Conference 2016 and LGBT+ STEMinar 2018

10 years of Athena SWAN gold celebration (2017-18)

Celebrating 10 years

The Department celebrated our long standing gold award by hosting and engaging in an array of events throughout 2017 and 2018:

  • In September 2017 we held an informal drinks reception for all staff, where Professor Robin Perutz and Professor Paul Walton looked back on the diversity work they have led.
  • In November 2017, we were part of a beacon event at the RSC, Burlington House.
  • We were the host of the annual LGBT+ STEMinar in January 2018.
  • In April 2018, Professor Ellie Highwood, Dean for Diversity and Inclusion and Professor of Climate Physics at the University of Reading, joined us in the Department to give the talk: From dust to diversity... adventures in atmospheric science and equality.
  • On 16 May 2018 Professor Carolyn Bertozzi from Stanford University was the keynote lecturer at a scientific symposium celebrating excellence and diversity in science.
  • Professor Carolyn Bertozzi also gave a powerful public lecture on 17 May 2018. View the recording: The long game of STEM diversification.