The University of Westminster is the first to receive an institutional Bronze award using expanded criteria brought in last year.

The award demonstrates the University’s commitment to advancing the academic careers of women (and men where appropriate) in the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) and arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL), professional and support staff, trans staff and students in higher education. The award focuses on the following areas:

  • representation
  • progression of students into academia
  • journey through career milestones
  • working environment for all staff

The Bronze Award is the first of three levels, the others being Silver and Gold Awards.

The application process involved input from staff across the organisation and was overseen by Professor Graham Megson, Provost and Chair of the Self-Assessment Team for the Athena SWAN Award.

The award is valid for four years, during which time the University will be making faculty and departmental award submissions.

Professor Graham Megson, Provost and Chair of the Self-Assessment Team for the Athena SWAN Award, said:

“I am delighted that we have gained this award and I’d like to thank everyone who helped us achieve the Bronze Award status. This is a great achievement to then continue to implement the action plan, and I'm looking forward to working with many of you over the coming months as we start to implement the plan.”

The action plan for the Athena SWAN Charter Award will be formally launched in May 2016. The plan ensures the University’s HR policies, staff development, practices and initiatives are in line with the 10 Athena SWAN principles focusing on specific issues preventing women academics progressing in STEMM careers. The action plan recognises the barriers in other disciplines – including those for men, trans people and the impact of race.

Jean Harrison, Director of Organisational Development and Well-being, said “I’m thrilled with the award, and give special thanks to all who have contributed to this work and the effort they put into this achievement, particularly as we are the first to receive an institutional Bronze award using expanded criteria brought in last year. The Award will give us further emphasis on the work we do for equality and diversity across the University”

Achieving accreditation demonstrates the University's inclusive working environment and commitment to equality. The award also supports research funding applications that require Athena SWAN endorsement.

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