In the summer of 2009, the UCL President and Provost, Professor Malcolm Grant, asked Professor Jan Atkinson, Head of the Developmental Science Research Department within Life Sciences and UCL Coordinator for Athena SWAN, to lead a 12 month 'Women into Leadership and Management' project, to tackle the under-representation of women in management and leadership roles within UCL. (UCL's gender target is to increase the representaion of women senior administrative managers in grades 9 & 10 by 2% per annum with the ultimate aim of a 50:50 split of men and women at this level.)
The core aims of the initiative were as follows:
To build on the successful award of four SWAN ATHENA Silver Charter awards in 2009 to five UCL organisational units and to work towards a Silver award for UCL as a whole
to increase the number of women with the aspiration, knowledge, skills and experience to be able to apply for a management post or involvement in senior UCL committees with a realistic chance of success
to identify any identifiable organisational or procedural barriers to the appointment of women to management and leadership roles in order that they can be addressed
Consultation across UCL was undertaken to gather experiences and perceptions and to understand the key issues affecting women in the University. Jan aimed to talk to Faculty Deans and their Senior Management Teams, to women in senior academic management positions, to researchers whose work relates to gender in the workplace and to lay members of Council who were themselves distinguished women who could add insights.
Areas of potential focus were:
Creation and leadership of a group which is actively interested in improving the number of women at senior levels within UCL and whose members are prepared to contribute to this project. To consider developing champions in each faculty to lead the examination of women's issues locally.
Review the work in the departments/divisions which were successful in their SWAN Silver Award applications ? to identify the lessons learnt and create of a ?buddy' system to support new applicants
Identify any barriers in UCL's recruitment, promotion or work-life balance arrangements that may militate against women progressing their careers or lead to bias in decision making.
Link with the work of the Research Staff Sub-Committee of the Academic Appointment and Promotion Committee on the career progression of women researchers
Learn from best practice in other universities, especially amongst the Russell Group
The project has culminated in a report summarising the work undertaken under each of the headings above, outcomes and achievements and any recommendations for further action.