press release
Published: 08 May 2018

University recognised for its commitment to gender equality

The University of Surrey has been awarded a prestigious Athena SWAN Bronze Award from the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU), in recognition of its commitment to tackling gender inequality in higher education.

The stag statue on the University of Surrey campus

Launched in 2005, and run by the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU), Athena SWAN was established to help universities and research institutions create more equitable working environments for women in Science Technology Engineering Medicine and Mathematics (STEMM) and rewards institutions that are making positive steps. In 2015 Athena SWAN was expanded to include arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law.

Professor Max Lu, President and Vice-Chancellor, said: “We are delighted to be awarded a Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to gender equality at Surrey.

“We are committed to promoting equality of opportunity in all activities and aim to provide a working and studying environment free from discrimination and unfair treatment”.

Julie Yeomans, Director of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and Professor of Ceramic Materials, who has been the driving force behind the submission, said: “This Award recognises the many positive changes that are occurring across the University. While I am delighted that our submission was successful, it is just the beginning; we must keep up the momentum as we implement our Action Plan to set us on course for our Athena SWAN Silver Award”.

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

  • Introduction of the Vice-Chancellor’s Inclusion and Career Investment Awards
  • Reduction in teaching/admin for research active staff returning from maternity/shared parental leave
  • Increased nursery provision
  • Improved paternity pay
  • Enhanced unconscious bias training ahead of recruitment and promotion panels
  • Scheduling meetings in ‘core hours’ (10:00am - 4:00pm)

Bronze awards recognise that the University has identified particular gender equality challenges that impact on their staff and students and has agreed a series of activities to address these issues over the next three years.

The awards will be presented at a ceremony to be held at Swansea University on 16 July 2018.

A copy of our Athena SWAN Bronze Application and Action Plan is available to download here.


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