Office of the President and Provost (Equality, Diversity & Inclusion)


Athena Swan at UCL

The Athena Swan Charter recognises and celebrates good gender equality practices in higher education.

What is Athena Swan?

The Athena Swan charter is a gender equality framework used across the higher education sector. Participating institutions and departments use the charter to improve gender representation, progression and the working environment for all staff. The Athena Swan charter is run by Advance HE, which is a member-led charity of and for the sector that works with partners across the globe to improve higher education for staff, students and society.

Athena Swan at UCL

UCL was one of the first Universities to sign up to the Athena Swan Charter and was awarded its first university wide Bronze award in 2006, and has since renewed this award in 2009 and 2012. In 2015 UCL received its first institutional Silver Athena Swan award which was renewed in 2021.

In 2023, UCL reaffirmed its commitment to the aims and principles of Athena Swan under the Transformed Athena Swan Charter, joining a global community with a shared goal of addressing gender inequalities and embedding inclusive cultures.




Key highlights from the submission are:

  • Continued impact of the reformed Senior Academic Promotions framework, with over 30% of Professors now female.
  • The launch of the Teacher Concordat.
  • An increase to 30% (2019) (15.9% in 2014) in female Heads of Departments.
  • 78.9% (53.5% in 2015) of departmental staff now work in Athena SWAN award-holding departments, with a figure of 93.1% in STEMM departments (from 31.5%).

The submission and 2021-26 Action Plan identified the following priorities:

  • Embed intersectional gender and race analysis into UCL gender equality work
  • Embed measures to support the promotion of Lecturers to Associate Professors or equivalent.
  • Develop interventions to support existing BAME women and men make competitive applications (positive action and mentoring/sponsorship) for Professional Services roles and reduce bias in recruitment processes for all BAME applicants.
  • Address male student recruitment decline at undergraduate level, especially in SLMS, and develop measures to support progression in those subjects with male under-representation.
  • Develop initiatives to support the careers of Professional Services staff.
  • Support the career development of teaching staff by embedding career pathways to ensure parity of esteem.
  • Engage central function areas (e.g. HR, Estates, Finance etc.) in EDI and gender equality work.

Departmental engagement

All academic departments can apply for an award.  As of May 2023, 51 departments, divisions and institutes from across UCL hold Athena Swan awards.

  • 28 departments hold Bronze awards
  • 19 departments hold Silver awards
  • 4 departments hold Gold awards


Support and advice for staff and students

In 2020, a new Microsoft SharePoint site was launched, providing: 

  • Information on Athena Swan
  • Departmental submissions and key contacts  
  • Guidance on developing Athena Swan submissions 
  • Information on the support available to departments preparing submissions

    Visit the UCL Athena Swan SharePoint site.

Horizon Europe’s Gender Equality Plan

Through its Athena Swan work, UCL meets the requirements of Horizon Europe’s Gender Equality Plan.
Find out more about the Gender Equality Plan.

a trilogy of photos showing people at work