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Athena swan

What is Athena SWAN?

The Athena SWAN Charter is run by the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU), a UK charity and recently merged to form Advance HE. The Charter celebrates good practice in gender equality in Higher Education, and offers a framework for introducing cultural changes to create a better working environment for all.

The Charter was established in 2005 to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women employed in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) subjects in higher education and research. In 2015, it was expanded to include work undertaken in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL) subjects as well as to encompass professional and support roles and trans staff and students. 

We are fully committed to the principles of the Athena SWAN Charter, and to enabling our departments to achieve Athena SWAN awards under the newly-expanded scheme.

What’s happening in the social sciences at Oxford?

We are actively supporting our departments to promote equality and diversity and to submit Athena SWAN award applications. Four social sciences departments have achieved Bronze awards to date, and work to implement their action plans is underway: the Faculty of Law , the School of Geography & the Environment , the School of Anthropology & Museum Ethnography, and the Said Business School.

We can advise on and facilitate:

  • the Athena SWAN self-assessment process
  • the collation and analysis of staff and student data
  • staff and student consultation, for example via surveys and focus groups.

We also run cross-departmental workshops to share best practice and coordinate initiatives.

A divisional Equality & Diversity Steering Group guides divisional strategy in this area and oversees departmental progress in submitting award applications. We work closely with the University's Equality and Diversity Unit and the other academic divisions in support of the University's aim to foster 'an inclusive culture which promotes equality, values diversity and maintains a working, learning and social environment in which the rights and dignity of all its staff and students are respected.’