Our Department recognises the need to benefit from the talents of all. We therefore want to attract the best teaching, research and support staff and we value the contribution of women in maintaining our leading status among UK Pharmacy Schools.

In October 2017, we were awarded an Athena SWAN Silver Department Award in recognition of our ongoing commitment to gender equality and the Athena SWAN principles.

The Athena SWAN Charter aims to advance gender equality across academia, in particular addressing the loss of women across the career pipeline and the absence of women from senior academic, professional and support roles. The University of Bath has held a Bronze Institution Award since 2009 and is committed to progressing the Athena SWAN principles.

Celebrating Athena SWAN

We are committed to embedding gender equality and inclusivity across all our activities. We are proud to display our Athena SWAN award prominently in the reception area.

All undergraduate and postgraduate students are introduced to the role of Athena SWAN in our Department at fresher’s week and in “returning-to-study” lectures. Issues relating to gender equality are discussed at Staff-Student Liaison Committees for both undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Athena SWAN is a standing agenda item at Department staff meetings. We celebrate successes of all staff regardless of gender—from marriages and childbirth to grant success, publications and PhD completion.

Athena SWAN Lectures

Our annual Departmental Athena SWAN Lecture is open to all staff and students across the Department to attend to celebrate our achievements under Athena SWAN.

Prominent, successful women scientists deliver these lectures and are visible role models to inspire the next generation.

After the lecture, speakers meet with postgraduate research students and postdoctoral researchers in the Department to discuss career choices and work-life balance.

  • Professor Gina Rippon - March 2015
  • Professor Jo Neill - March 2016
  • Professor Doreen Cantrell- March 2017

Achieving culture change

We have worked hard to enact our Bronze Action Plan and drive progress towards gender equality across the Department.

We have an excellent record in recruiting and supporting women. Women are 47% of our academic, teaching and research staff. Our taught students have a majority of women (64% of undergraduates and 73% of postgraduate students) reflecting the professional Pharmacy workforce. Women are 50% of our postgraduate research students.

Our 2016/17 departmental culture survey among staff shows that we’ve made substantial progress since achieving our Bronze Department Award in 2014:

  • 80% of staff believe the department is a good place to work
  • 60% believes women are well represented at departmental committees

Specific actions and achievements include:

  • encourage and support career progression leading to a strong pool of Senior Lecturers (44% female) and Readers (75% female)
  • restructure of Departmental committees and introduction of a rolling 3 year fixed-term membership which has increased the proportion of women on decision-making committees and women taking on Chair roles
  • a highly supportive culture which promotes flexible working and supports career breaks and goes beyond University expectations with the introduction of a “Career Break Buddy Scheme” for maternity leave
  • formation of a Postdoctoral Researchers Committee and a Postgraduate Staff Student Liaison Committee to facilitate social interaction and promote career development opportunities

Our Department has a positive and inclusive culture that our 2016/17 student departmental culture survey reports as:

  • respectful: 92%
  • fair: 85%
  • open-minded: 84%
  • supportive: 88%

Going forward

We will continue to provide proactive, targeted support for mid-career academic staff to progress to Reader/Professor level. In the most recent 2016/17 promotion round, three female Senior Lecturers were promoted to Reader.

We have also developed targeted actions to provide career progression support for Professional and Support staff, for early career researchers to develop towards independent academic careers and for PhD students in the transition post-PhD.

The Department Self-Assessment Team

In January 2016 a new Department Self-Assessment Team was formed to review data, assess progress against our Bronze Action Plan and to identify future actions.