Universities celebrate Athena SWAN award wins

The University of East Anglia gained an institutional silver and Leeds University School of Medicine achieved a gold award

Advance HE has announced more than 100 awards in recognition of gender equality in the higher education sector.

A total of 103 Athena SWAN (Scientific Women’s Academic Network) awards have been announced for departments, schools and universities across the UK and Ireland.

The three tiers of awards reflect the progress made by departments and institutions on gender equality.

The University of Leeds School of Medicine becomes the first medical school to achieve gold status. The psychology department at the University of York becomes the third department at the institution to receive a gold award.

These awards indicate that we have made a lot of progress and that there is substantial good practice around the university, albeit that there is lots still to do
– Prof Steve Scott, University of Leeds

Prof Steve Scott, executive dean and the Athena SWAN lead at the University of Leeds, said: “On behalf of the university leadership team, I’d like to give thanks to all those who have worked very hard to demonstrate, through the submission process, why these awards are merited.

“It’s an endorsement of our widespread progress in this area and a reminder of our commitment to achieving greater gender equality at Leeds. These awards indicate that we have made a lot of progress and that there is substantial good practice around the university, albeit that there is lots still to do.”


Read more: Bradford University named most social inclusive in the UK


The University of East Anglia has achieved institutional silver for the first time. Swansea University has retained its silver award and, along with Aston University (which achieved silver in 2018), is one of two non-Russell Group university to receive the status. In total, 18 universities have achieved an institutional silver.

Originally established as a charter in 2005 by the UK Equality Challenge Unit, the awards are now managed by Advance HE. The awards were originally only available to science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM) departments, but the scope of the awards was broadened out to include arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law in 2015.

Advance HE has commissioned an independent review of the Athena SWAN Charter, led by Prof Julia Buckingham. The review will ensure the charter is fit for the future.

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