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What is Athena Swan?

The Athena Swan Charter is a framework that advances gender equality, creates a positive and supportive culture, and is inclusive of people of all gender identities and those facing intersectional inequalities.

Logo for the Bronze Athena Swan award

It helps embed diversity, equality and inclusions in our culture, decision making and partnerships, holding ourselves and others accountable. It also ensures that gender equality work is distributed appropriately, and is recognised and properly rewarded.

Within an institution, the Athena Swan framework identifies areas that need to be improved. It covers STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) and AHSSB (Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences, Business) academic disciplines plus staff from Professional Services, Technical and Operational job families. It focuses on the removal of barriers hindering career development.  

The Charter has recently been transformed to reduce the administrative burden significantly for applicants, enabling greater focus on priority areas. For example, the introduction of a standardised departmental survey empowers applicants to focus on the assessment of culture.

Why is Athena Swan important?

Athena Swan helps universities to:

  • Address the under-representation of both women and men in certain subject areas - a national issue.
  • Address the under-representation of women at senior level, eg Professor and Senior Leadership Teams.
  • Address the under-achievement of young men.
  • Identify and resolve barriers hindering career development.
  • Examine policies, practices and cultures within the University.
  • Evaluate the support available to staff and students.

Loughborough University recognises that we cannot reach our full potential unless we can benefit from the talents of all. We aim to ensure gender equality in all of our activities but recognise that we still have more to do. We continue to be committed to Athena Swan and will be submitting to renew our institutional Athena Swan award in March 2023.