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IOE achieves award for its commitment to gender equality

18 May 2020

UCL Institute of Education (IOE) has achieved an Athena SWAN bronze award in recognition of its work towards gender equality within the Institute.

Two women having a discussion in class

The Athena SWAN charter recognises work undertaken by higher education institutions to address gender equality through career progression, representation, and working environments, among other factors.

The Bronze award is the first of three awards within the Athena SWAN process. This recognises that in addition to institution-wide policies, the IOE is working to promote gender equality and to identify and address challenges particular to the Institute. 

By achieving the Bronze award, the IOE can now look ahead to working towards the Silver award. The Silver award recognises a significant record of activity and achievement by the institution since the bronze award in promoting gender equality and in addressing challenges in different disciplines.

Many IOE staff members were involved in the process of putting together the submission, as well as several students. Together, as a Self-Assessment team, they developed an Action Plan to further promote equality, diversity and inclusion within the IOE.

Professor Sara Mole, UCL Provost’s Envoy for Gender Equality, said: “On behalf of the Provost, I would like to thank and recognise the significant amount of effort and work that all who have contributed to this success have made.”

Professor Sue Rogers, Interim Director of the IOE, said: “I am incredibly pleased and proud that the IOE’s application for an Athena SWAN Bronze Award has been successful.

“I am enormously grateful to the many IOE colleagues who contributed their ideas, reflections and time to the complex and time-consuming process of putting together the submission. It represents a huge amount of work and a truly collective effort.

“We should take considerable pride in the award, but must also recognise that the next challenge is to use this plan to implement the IOE’s commitment to Equality, Diversion and Inclusion more fully.”

Professor Phil Jones, Co-Chair of the IOE Self-Assessment Team with Professor Rogers, said: “This Award is a testament to collaboration: with our Self-Assessment Team creating a range of activities to gather and interrogate quantitative data as well as offering focus groups, interviews, surveys and a 'gallery' where our Action Plan for change could be reviewed. We were able to consult and engage academic and professional staff along with students from across the Institute. The work allowed us, as a community, to identify and consider a broad range of equality and inclusion issues and to plan for change.”

Kevin Coutinho, UCL Athena SWAN Manager, said: “Congratulations to the IOE on securing this milestone award.  Athena SWAN awards help departments address systemic inequalities by responding to issues raised by qualitative and quantitative data. The IOE’s self-assessment team has embraced the spirit of this work by engaging colleagues from across the Institute to produce an action plan for the next five years that will help to deliver a more inclusive culture for staff and students. Well done to all involved.”

Dr Alice Bradbury, Associate Professor, said: “Being part of the SAT has been a fantastic opportunity to connect with colleagues from around the IOE and to work as a team on something we all cared passionately about. Together we had really productive discussions and it was great to be part of a supportive and challenging team.”

Hazel Croft, Programme Administrator, Centre for Doctoral Education, said: “The focus groups, questionnaires and interviews we conducted with members of professional staff, at all levels of the IOE, revealed a rich picture of the complexities and challenges that many staff face in both their home and working lives. It was a humbling and rewarding experience to gather and listen to these workers’ stories. Now I feel that we have to show that we really listened by putting the measures into action that will make real improvements to people’s conditions and experiences at work.”

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