Here's how we're striving to create gender balance at our University.


Gender pay gap

Our vision for the University of Sheffield includes a commitment to ‘identify and tackle patterns of inequality, to ensure that staff and students can achieve their full potential’. This commitment is at the heart of our ambition to eliminate our Gender Pay Gap.

We take a partnership approach to our gender pay gap analysis and action planning, working closely with senior academic and professional services colleagues, campus trade unions through our joint Gender Pay Gap Working Group, our Gender Equality Committee and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Together, we are embarking on a programme of work to deliver a target for Gender Pay Gap reduction of five percentage points by 2025. We will review progress against this target annually and increase it if we are able to meet it before 2025.

Local action plans for faculties and professional services are supported by a central programme of work that is designed to address structural and cultural contributors to gender inequality. This work includes actions to improve recruitment processes and career progression opportunities for women, a review of the impact of unequal workload allocation on research performance and a commitment to create transparent processes for filling significant departmental leadership roles.

Read our Gender Pay Gap report 2021. [PDF, 218K]


Our Senate and Council Committees now have an overall average of 44 per cent female membership. Six out of 13 colleagues on our Executive Board are female, including our Deputy Vice-Chancellor.


Our Gender Equality Committee is a formal sub-committee of the University Council Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

It supports the achievement of the University’s key performance indicators and equality objectives, by raising awareness of gender equality and acting as a body of expertise on gender issues; and advises the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Human Resources and senior management on measures to address gender equality.

It also oversees the implementation and development of the University’s Athena SWAN action plan.

A sub-group, focussing on Gender Pay Gap (GPG) action planning, has also recently been established.

Gender equality in research

In 2020, we launched the White Rose Gender Equality College in collaboration with academic and professional colleagues from the University of Leeds and the University of York.

A key driver of this work includes the recent change in requirement from Global Challenge Research Funders for research proposals to include a gender equality statement, in order to provide equal opportunities for male and female researchers.

As part of the gender pay gap work, we will also commission research to examine the impact of unequal workload allocation on research performance. This will look in particular at the gender impact of how personal tutoring is allocated, and will recommend actions to address any inequality.

Academic career pathways

Our Academic Career Pathways framework specifically takes account of gender equality and inclusion work in building academic, teaching and research promotion cases.

Menopause friendly workplace

We have invested in a series of resources to help normalise menopause support at work.

We introduced new online support for staff members experiencing menopausal symptoms and guidance for managers supporting colleagues. The support, guidance and associated toolkits have been developed with the input of colleagues and the best practice recommended by expert practitioners, to help us create a menopause friendly workplace. 

We invested in Peppy Health, an app which provides specialist menopause support for staff members and their partners experiencing menopausal symptoms. The app gives staff free access to a range of support including personalised support with expert menopause practitioners, one to one video and phone consultations, group chat support, and useful resources aligned to NHS guidelines, exercices sessions and more.

In 2022, we will launch new online  training for staff and managers. The interactive course will give colleagues an understanding of what the menopause is, how it can affect you or a colleague and what you can do to manage the menopause. This training builds on our work to raise awareness and understanding in the workplace.

The symptoms of the menopause can be debilitating and can have a detrimental impact particularly,  but not exclusively, on women. We have developed an ongoing action plan to include awareness raising, knowledge building and mechanisms for emotional and practical support to contribute to an inclusive work environment where all staff can thrive.

Support for carers

We are a member of Employers for Carers and are committed to ensuring employers have the support to retain and manage employees with caring responsibilities.

Alongside this we are supporting the establishment of a University carers staff network and we will work with this group to design and deliver further support. We continue to look for ways in which we can support those staff with caring responsibilities who are predominantly women.

Support for parents

Parents@TUOS is a network for all staff and students who have families or are thinking about having families, offering a range of support to all staff and students through career breaks and sharing best practice and tips.

Baby and fertility support 

As part of our commitment to creating a positive environment that supports and encourages wellbeing In 2021, we introduced a new fertility leave policy for staff and their partners in recognition of the emotional and physical challenges that can arise from fertility treatments.

In addition, our partnership with Peppy Health,  provides staff access to personalised fertility and baby support who are on the fertility or parenthood journey. Staff can access a range of free support via the Peppy app, including; opportunities to join specialist virtual seminars and broadcasts on relevant topics, video or phone consultations with specialist fertility, lactation and/or baby sleep consultants, one-to-one chats with expert pre and post natal and fertility practitioner and more.

Maternity support

Our Women Academic Returners’ Programme (WARP) supports women who are returning to work after time off for maternity leave.

Women's network

The Women@TUOS Staff Network is an aspirational and motivational space and support network for female staff from all backgrounds and at all stages of their careers. 

Providing opportunities to develop skills, confidence and network with others, the network is run by members, for members and is open to all staff who identify as female.
It includes two sub-groups: the Women Professors’ Network and the Early Career Researcher’s Network.

Athena SWAN

We are one of only 18 universities to hold a Silver institutional Athena SWAN award and one of only four institutions nationally to retain their Silver award upon renewal.  

Athena SWAN Charter recognises our commitment to advancing women’s careers across the University and particularly in STEMM subjects: science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine. 

Learn more about Athena Swan

Creating an inclusive workplace

We are committed to tackling discrimination and creating an inclusive workplace for lesbian, gay, bi and trans employees.

Harassment, abuse, bullying, violence and discrimination have no place at our University. Via the online platform Report + Support, staff and students can report and access support about harassment and discrimination of any kind.

We offer a range of support, services and activities for staff health and wellbeing.

Women in engineering

Engineering is a fantastic career choice for men and women, unfortunately, women are woefully underrepresented.

We want to show the huge diversity of the engineering discipline; to break preconceived notions of what engineering is and to showcase our excellent Women in Engineering at the University.

Meet some of our women in engineering.

Report + Support

An online platform for all staff and students to report and access support about harassment and discrimination of any kind.