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 deliver life-enhancing research, innovation and education that not only transforms the lives of our graduates but shapes the world we live in. We believe fostering an ambitious, inclusive, collaborative community is the best way to achieve this. We continue to identify and tackle patterns of inequality to ensure that staff and students can achieve their full potential. These commitments are at the heart of our ambition to eliminate our Gender Pay Gap.

To enable us to remain on track to achieve the elimination of our Gender Pay Gap, we have set ambitious targets for a reduction by 2025 of five percentage points with specific target reductions agreed at Faculty level.  A programme of work has been designed to make a visible difference to the working lives and career prospects of our female staff and with a focus on activity proposed at a University level to address structural and cultural barriers to gender equality.

Our Gender Pay Gap is being tackled at a local level in departments by creating specific targets and supportive bespoke action plans.  Actions that are more appropriately undertaken at a local level are included in a resource or ‘menu’ of suggested activities to support departmental-level action.  A steer around themes or priority areas for action emerging from the data analysis is included alongside the gender pay gap data in the annual Departmental Planning Framework data sources and this means that Gender Pay Gap actions have become part of the everyday business of departments, highlighting the connection between local action and University ambition.

To support activity at a local level, we have been delivering a programme of work that is designed to address structural and cultural contributors to gender inequality.  This work is being driven centrally and our priority areas of action for the next 12 months are recruitment, career progression and working environment.


We have invested substantially in the creation of a dedicated recruitment team which is undertaking a programme of work to overhaul our end-to-end recruitment process to provide an outstanding recruitment support service to Departments across the University, leading a transformation of the way we attract and recruit people to ensure our recruitment practice is more inclusive.  

Work will include improving recruitment panels themselves through the use of implicit bias training, and gender-balanced panels, as well as trialling and rolling out ways of enabling panels to shortlist anonymised applications.  

Career progression

Academic promotions data is already being reviewed systematically as part of the annual academic promotions process to identify particular areas where female success rates are significantly lower than men, at a Department, Faculty and University level.  This work is being led by the Gender, Race, Disability and LGBT+ Promotion Task and Finish Group, which will also allow us to consider issues of intersectionality.

Additionally, we will undertake a review of the allocation of personal tutoring and pastoral support roles to better understand the disproportionate allocation of these roles to female members of staff and examine the impact of unequal workload allocation on research performance and will recommend actions to address any inequality.

We will continue to develop leadership and management programmes with a focus on inclusion and widening participation for female colleagues to support their leadership journeys, ensuring that development is accessible and coherent to all colleagues to provide focused support and learning opportunities.

Working environment

To enable us to provide a working environment that recognises the additional pressures that both impact exclusively on or traditionally disproportionately on female colleagues and to mitigate the impact of these on career progression, actions will be taken to deliver support for carers, including the establishment of a staff network for carers which will also progress the work to support staff who balance work and caring responsibilities.

We will also continue to ensure that the transition to hybrid working enables maximum opportunities for progressing gender equality and potential negative impacts are mitigated.

Read our Gender Pay Gap report 2022 [PDF]


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.

Download the report for our gender equality action plan.  

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, exercises 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 postnatal 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, break preconceived notions of what engineering is and 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.