The Athena SWAN charter was established in 2005 to encourage and recognise commitment to furthering the careers of women. Initially the charter only included STEM subjects, but in 2015 it was expanded to include arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law. The charter includes trans staff and students.
Loughborough was one of the first signatories of the charter and was awarded a Bronze Award as an institution in 2009. Four other Schools and Departments on campus have this accolade – the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences (Silver), the Design School (Bronze), the School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering (Bronze) and the School of Science's Mathematics Department (Silver).
The application took two years to complete. The School’s self-assessment team carried out staff and student surveys and conducted focus groups to collate the data needed to evidence their work on identifying challenges and promoting gender equality. An action plan was put together to further increase gender equality over the next four years.
The award is given based on a national panel decision and an example of good practice is showcased if successful. The Barbara Bagilhole Memorial award, founded by Dr Line Nyhagen, was chosen. This award, named after a former member of staff who worked tirelessly to promote equal opportunities and diversity at the University and internationally, is given for the best undergraduate student paper in the area of equality and diversity.
Dr Line Nyhagen and Dr Catherine Armstrong attended the event in York, organised by Advance HE, to receive the award. Dr Nyhagen said: “'I am delighted that the School of Social Sciences' dedicated work on improving gender equality has received national recognition”.
“I am particularly pleased that our Barbara Bagilhole Award received a special mention. I would like to thank all members of the self-assessment team for their contributions to us winning the award. The School's work to further improve gender equality and diversity continues, led by my colleague Dr Catherine Armstrong”.
More information on the Athena SWAN charter can be found here.