Published: 28 September 2023

Surrey’s gender equality commitment recognised with prestigious institutional Athena Swan Silver award

The University is delighted to announce that it has achieved a Silver Athena Swan award in the latest submissions round.

The Athena SWAN Charter, which was launched in June 2005, was first implemented to advance the representation of women in science, technology, engineering, medicine and mathematics (STEMM). In 2015, the charter was expanded to also include arts, humanities, social science, business and law disciplines as well as professional and support roles.

Jo McCarthy-Holland, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Manager, said: “We are proud of this award, and the efforts we have made to advance gender equality through projects like Springboard, the Menopause Project, the Period Poverty project, Diversity 200 and support for parents and carers. We are now looking forward to building on these successes and fully implementing our Silver Action Plan. Awards like this are a call to action and what matters most is how we take this forward, as individuals and as an institution.

“I am looking forward to collaborating with colleagues to embed the action plans to deliver on our ambitions for equality, diversity and inclusivity at Surrey.”

Michael Hassell, EDI Adviser with specific responsibility for coordinating the University’s charter work, said: “This Award recognises the many positive changes that are happening across the University.

“By being part of Athena Swan, Surrey is committing to a progressive charter, adopting the principles of Athena Swan within University policies, practices, action plans and culture.

“I am committed to supporting us in developing the ideas and initiatives set out in our submission as we continue our journey forward in our equality work.”


Recent developments that have helped to promote gender equality within the institution have included:


  • Introduction of the VC’s Academic Returners Award
  • Introduction of reduced teaching/admin workload for research staff returning from leave
  • Report and Support launched
  • Introduction of Demystifying Promotion Workshops


  • Springboard Development Programme brought in-house
  • Gender neutral toilet provision increased


  • Women’s Network launched
  • Flexible Working developed into Hybrid Working
  • Menopause Project launched
  • Trans and Gender Identity Procedure launched
  • EDI work recognised in workload planning model


  • Revisiting recruitment shortlists if they lack diversity
  • Period Poverty campaign launched
  • Diversity 200 inclusive recruitment campaign launched
  • Upgrade of Maternity Policy for fixed-term employees


  • Bullying and Harassment Procedure upgraded
  • Gender/Ethnicity targets for Surrey Future Fellows programme
  • In-depth pay gap review/analysis
  • Inclusion Values Award introduced


  • Review and upgrade of the Maternity Policy
  • Allyship staff training launched
  • Upgrade of family-friendly policies
  • New menopause, miscarriage and fertility treatment policies created.

If you have any questions or queries in relation to Athena Swan and gender equality at the University of Surrey, please contact  Michael Hassell  for further information. 

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