Queen’s University Belfast has been a member of the Athena SWAN Charter since 2005. Athena SWAN Charter is committed to recognising advancement of gender equality: representation, progression and success for all.
Advance HE’s Athena SWAN Charter covers:
- academic roles in STEMM and AHSSBL
- professional and support staff
- trans staff and students
In relation to their:
- progression of students into academia
- journey through career milestones
- working environment for all staff
The Athena SWAN Charter is based on ten key principles. By being part of Athena SWAN, institutions are committing to a progressive charter; adopting these principles within their policies, practices, action plans and culture. The School of Natural and Built Environment is committed to enhancing diversity and promoting equality of opportunity amongst all our staff and students. We have adopted the principles of the Athena SWAN Charter:
- We acknowledge that academia cannot reach its full potential unless it can benefit from the talents of all.
- We commit to advancing gender equality in academia, in particular, addressing the loss of women across the career pipeline and the absence of women from senior academic, professional and support roles.
- We commit to addressing unequal gender representation across academic disciplines and professional and support functions. In this we recognise disciplinary differences including:
- the relative underrepresentation of women in senior roles in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL)
- the particularly high loss rate of women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM)
- We commit to tackling the gender pay gap.
- We commit to removing the obstacles faced by women, in particular, at major points of career development and progression including the transition from PhD into a sustainable academic career.
- We commit to addressing the negative consequences of using short-term contracts for the retention and progression of staff in academia, particularly women.
- We commit to tackling the discriminatory treatment often experienced by trans people.
- We acknowledge that advancing gender equality demands commitment and action from all levels of the organisation and in particular active leadership from those in senior roles.
- We commit to making and mainstreaming sustainable structural and cultural changes to advance gender equality, recognising that initiatives and actions that support individuals alone will not sufficiently advance equality.
- All individuals have identities shaped by several different factors. We commit to considering the intersection of gender and other factors wherever possible.
The School of the Natural and Built Environment have a dedicated Athena SWAN team who are responsible for advancing gender equality and embedding the Athena SWAN principles in the School, led by our SWAN Champion Clare Mulholland, discipline leads and Self Assessment Team.
Some of our achievements to date include:
- Unconscious bias training for all members of the School Management Board (SMB) and Athena SWAN Self-Assessment Team.
- A School Board dedicated to raising awareness of University and School policies on inappropriate behaviour.
- Posters relating to the Principles of the Athena SWAN Charter displayed in prominent locations throughout the School's buildings.
- Promotion of family-friendly policies.
- Introduction of core hours.
- Athena SWAN information included in presentations for student open days.
- Celebrating International Women's Day with the launch of our alumni Inspirational Women video
- Annual staff and PGR surveys (complemented by focus groups).
- Reviewing annual workload allocation models for potential gender-specific issues.
- Greater gender balance among research seminar speakers.