UCL Earth Sciences


Athena SWAN

The Department of Earth Sciences has won an Athena SWAN Bronze Award. We are proud of the department for having received this recognition of our commitment to gender equality.

Athena Swan Co-ordinator:
Professor John Brodholt, 2016

Our self-assessment exercise showed some “glass ceiling” trends common to other science disciplines; while we achieve a good gender balance in our undergraduate and graduate students, there is a decline in the progression to postdocs and permanent positions. Of particular concern is that our gender balance among permanent staff has remained stubbornly low. We anticipate progress towards this goal in the near future.

Moreover, the Department has evolved positively through the promotion and appointment of several female professors. Five years ago the Department had only one female professor (the first female professor in the Department in its 150+ year history), we now have four.  We are committed to continued improvement of the overall gender balance of the Department.

For instance, the Swan Assessment Team (SAT) now audits all aspects of job allocation, promotions and hiring. Athena SWAN is a standing item at staff meetings and we have improved on the maternity/paternity policy beyond that offered by UCL. The Earth Sciences Department has brought in a number other changes in support of female academics.  The seminar timetable moved to a more family friendly time.   A survey of PhD students highlighted the need for more discussions and forums on academic careers, and the need for more visible female role models, on which we have acted. In summary, we have taken many positive steps towards improving and advancing the careers of women in our Department and we are committed to this initiative and implementation of our action plan.