The Department of Economics has been successful in achieving the Bronze Award to recognise their commitment to inclusion, equality and diversity, and to implementing principles of the Charter across its activities.
Advance HE’s Athena SWAN Charter was set up with the purpose of encouraging and recognising commitment to advancing careers of women in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Medicine) subjects. This was expanded in 2015 to include work in wider areas and the charter now recognises advancement of gender equality more broadly, covering representation, progression and success for all.
The Department of Economics’ achievements referred to in its application include:
- Responses from the Department’s staff survey showed that the majority of colleagues perceived the Department culture as positive and inclusive and the majority also perceive the Department as supporting gender equality.
- One third of new hires in 2017/18 were female and half in 2018/2019. In July 2019, a female senior lecturer was successfully promoted to Reader.
- A female Admissions Tutor was appointed to represent the Department on UCAS applicant visit days and be a visible role model for female sixth form students.
- The percentage of female full time doctoral students has increased from 31% (2014-15) to 65% (2017-18).
- The Department offers support after maternity leave to provide returning female academics with the opportunity of re-establishing research momentum.
The Head of Department, Peter Postl, said of the Department’s success:
"I am delighted that we have received this award in recognition of our commitment to advance equality and diversity in the Department, and making it central to the strategic planning for our continued success in education and research. Inclusion, respect for diversity, and openness to a wide range of experiences and points of view are crucial in giving everyone – our staff and students alike - the best chance to fulfil their potential. I'm excited to see the results of our Athena Swan action plan over the coming years."
The next focus for the Department will be on the very important component of the application, the Action Plan. To advance its equality and diversity agenda, the Department has set up a new EDI (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) Committee to oversee and monitor the progress of the Action Plan’s implementation.
The Athena SWAN Co-Leads in the Department were Elnaz Bajoori and Jörg Franke. They co-chaired the Department Self-Assessment Team during the Athena SWAN application preparations and now co-chair the Department’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee. On her involvement, Elnaz said:
"I have thoroughly enjoyed being so involved in the Athena SWAN application! The Bronze award is a great achievement and I am really looking forward to us implementing our action plan in the next four years which will continue to build on our current successes and lead the way in positive culture, open communication and gender balance. I am excited to see the results!"
"I am honoured and pleased that we received the Athena Swan Bronze Award at our first attempt, especially because the self-Assessment process has been a truly cooperative team effort in which we all learned a lot. As result of this process, we developed a comprehensive and ambitious Action Plan focusing on gender equality, diversity, and inclusion, which we have started to implement and I am delighted to be part of it."