Athena Swan

The UCL Institute of Child Health (ICH) is committed to the principles and beliefs of the Athena SWAN charter. The Institute received a Silver Award from the Athena SWAN charter in May 2014. This award celebrates ICH’s good practices in developing the careers of women in Science and Academic Medicine. The Athena SWAN awards process enables departments and universities to develop an action plan aimed at improving recruitment, retention and promotion of female academic and research staff. The awards also have important financial implications for research institutions, since in 2011 the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, indicated that from 2016 the National Institute for Health Research will only shortlist applications for Biomedical Research Centre status from institutions holding an Athena SWAN Silver Award.

The ICH ‘self-assessment’ team has worked hard to identify the key challenges for women’s careers in science, and to promote existing good practices within ICH as well as creating new support structures, including the introduction of an annual ICH Academic Careers’ Day, the development of a Mums’ and Dads’ (MADS) group, and a postdoctoral forum, which have produced benefits for all staff, not only women.

About The Charter

Charter for Women in Science: Recognising commitment to advancing women’s careers in STEMM academia.
The Athena SWAN Charter, which was launched in June 2005, recognises commitment to advancing women's careers in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment in higher education. 

The beliefs underpinning the Charter are:

  • The advancement of science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine is fundamental to quality of life across the globe
  • It is vitally important that women are adequately represented in what has traditionally been, and is still, a male-dominated area
  • Science cannot reach its full potential unless it can benefit from the talents of the whole population, and until women and men can benefit equally from the opportunities it affords

Six principles represent the cornerstone of Athena SWAN:

  1. To address gender inequalities requires commitment and action from everyone, at all levels of the organisation
  2. To tackle the unequal representation of women in science requires changing cultures and attitudes across the organisation
  3. The absence of diversity at management and policy-making levels has broad implications which the organisation will examine
  4. The high loss rate of women in science is an urgent concern which the organisation will address
  5. The system of short-term contracts has particularly negative consequences for the retention and progression of women in science, which the organisation recognises
  6. There are both personal and structural obstacles to women making the transition from PhD into a sustainable academic career in science, which require the active consideration of the organisation

Page last modified on 27 oct 14 15:38