National award recognises our commitment to gender equality

Today (Tuesday 7 May 2019) we have been recognised for our ongoing commitment to progressing gender equality by the flagship accreditation scheme, Athena SWAN Charter. Our silver institutional award has been renewed until 2022, making us one of only 18 universities to hold this accolade.

President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Koen Lamberts, said: “I am delighted that we have achieved this national accolade in recognition of our dedication to progressing gender equality. Thank you to the Gender Equality Committee, our Athena SWAN champions, and to everyone who is committed to creating an inclusive University.”

Professor Gill Valentine, Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Chair of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, added: “We have a genuine commitment to gender equality and supporting the talents and potential of women and I am deeply proud of the progress made since our last award. We continue to make significant developments through a wide range of targeted actions to address challenges in different disciplines. Thank you to everyone involved for your hard work and dedication.”

Parveen Ali

Inclusion at Sheffield - gender equality video and stories


Key areas of progress

Advance HE who run the Athena SWAN Charter will gift official recognition of our achievements at a ceremony on 24 June 2019. The renewal of our Silver award continues our successful track record since our first Bronze award in 2008, and first Silver award in 2016. More detailed feedback on our submission is also due in June, at which point we will share our institutional submission online. We have made sustained progress across a number of key areas, including:

  • We have worked hard to create gender balance across our leadership team and committee roles, resulting in all of our Senate Committees and over half of our Council Committees now having at least a 40 per cent female membership.
  • Our University Executive Board now includes four female members. Professor Gill Valentine was appointed as our second female Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor in November 2017.
  • Our new Academic Career Pathways framework specifically takes account of gender equality and inclusion work in building academic, teaching and research promotion cases, and recognises the importance of wider equality, diversity and inclusion work.
  • Gender pay gap and equal pay data are now considered holistically and within the context of the University's wider Athena SWAN action plan, with recommendations for actions reported to our Gender Equality Committee ensuring connectivity between actions. Read our latest Gender Pay Gap report
  • We are supporting trans people with changes to our inclusive policies, language and facilities, and through our transgender guidelines for transitioning and non-binary staff.

Our work doesn't stop here

Professor Katherine Linehan, Chair of the Gender Equality Committee said: “We continue to recognise the challenges that remain and take these very seriously. The Gender Equality Committee is fully committed to implementing our ambitious action plan. Some of the key focus areas relate to analysis of data to develop targeted actions, continued leadership training and career support for women, implementation of the new Academic Career Pathway and further diversification of our staff.”


Award-winning departments

As well as a Silver institutional award, we also have 20 departments across the University with Athena SWAN awards and in this latest submission round, the AMRC has achieved its first Bronze award - congratulations to everyone involved. Dr Nicola Ridgway, who leads the Athena SWAN programme at the AMRC, said: “We have made great strides, but this is just the beginning of our journey. The ethos of Athena SWAN is now part of our culture and we are determined to go further in improving equality across the AMRC and engineering in general.”


About Athena Swan Charter

Silver award logo

The Charter is a flagship accreditation scheme which recognises the work of higher education institutions and research institutes to address gender equality within academia and research.

It is led by Advance HE and was established in 2005. Advance HE are undertaking a major review of the Athena SWAN Charter, ensuring that it is fit for current and future needs of institutions, individuals and the sector as a whole. Development of policy and implementation of recommendations are planned for April 2019 to June 2019.