Athena Swan

Athena Swan promotes and supports the diversity of all staff in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), and aims to address gender, race and sexual orientation inequalities and imbalance in these disciplines and, in particular, the under-representation of certain groups in senior roles.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

2018 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science UK & Ireland Fellowship Awards Programme

The 2018 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science UK & Ireland Fellowship Awards Programme will open on Monday 4th December 2017 for applications. It will be awarding five outstanding female early-career scientists a bursary of £15,000. The fellowship awards are open to female early-career researchers working in the field of life and physical sciences, engineering, mathematics and computer sciences.

Please encourage as many applicants as possible to apply online at by the deadline of 16th February 2018

This unique award is designed to provide practical help to aid female researchers in continuing their cutting-edge research. The fellowship can be spent as the fellow wishes; it could buy a piece of scientific equipment, help to cover child care costs or be used to fund conference travel.
I have endeavoured to make it as easy as possible for you to promote these awards and with that in mind you will find the following assets attached to this email:
·        PDF of the promotional flyer
·        PDF of  our Poster
·        Social Media JPEG
You will also see we will be tweeting about the awards from our account @loreal_uki so please feel free to retweet and share our posts as appropriate.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

SEES Female Staff Coffee meeting

Please, come and meet Thursday, 23rd November, 10:00-11:00 am at the Hub for our first Athena Swan Female Staff’s coffee morning.

Annette Goetz
Athena Swan Female Student Focus Group
Notes and Actions

Student Representatives: Katherine Tuley, Rosina Rennie, Ebony Acheampong, Marta Docal Morales, Rebecca Birch.    

SEES Athena Swan Committee members: David Franklin; Jim Smith

The group discussed differences in gender in Geo/Env Sciences at all stages from school to academic and non-academic careers. The students present didn’t report any obvious gender bias within the department. However, it was noted that the majority of teaching staff were white male. This led to a lack of ethnic diversity in teaching staff and, in some subjects, the teaching staff were almost exclusively male. It was noted that Environmental Science staff have an approximately 50/50 male to female ratio, whereas in the geological sciences there were fewer women. On the Masters courses, teaching is almost exclusively by male staff. It was suggested that it would be helpful to have more external female and ethnic minority speakers aimed at career paths. It was noted that the SEES Seminar Series had a good gender balance.

Gender specific tutorials had been suggested as a potential way to support female undergraduates and postgraduates. This was discussed: the group was unanimous that this was not necessary.

Fieldwork was discussed; some students reported no issues, but others felt that there could be better preparation for fieldwork, particularly in terms of preparing students for what to expect, and what would be expected of them, on field courses.

A Women in Geo/Environmental science event was discussed; this was felt to be useful if focussed on career opportunities for undergraduate and postgraduate students. To improve female participation in geo/environmental sciences, it was felt that efforts should be aimed at schools, particularly in the 11-14 age group before GCSE/A level choices had been made. The Student Ambassador scheme was discussed and it was felt that information/encouragement should be given to students in SEES to participate.

The international student experience at UoP was discussed: this was felt to be positive.

Women in Geo/Env Science event focussed on careers/employability – this is being pursued by the SEES Athena Swan committee together with Geography.

Raise awareness of the Student Ambassador scheme within SEES

Improved preparation for fieldwork. This issue will also be addressed in a joint study of diversity issues in fieldwork with Geography.

Ongoing aim to improve diversity of lecturing staff.

Monday, 6 November 2017

HE STEM Equality and Diversity - the Impact of the TEF and REF

HE STEM Equality and Diversity - the Impact of the TEF and REF
·         What are the implications for not engaging?

A SEPnet Workshop - Monday 4 December 2017, Queen Mary University of London

SEPnet is organising a one-day workshop to share good practice in addressing barriers to female progression in STEM and supporting under-represented groups with particular focus on the impact of the REF and TEF.
Successful REF and TEF submissions will increasingly depend on HEIs demonstrating evidence of robust diversity policies and practices. Presenters will provide an overview of progress to date highlighting examples of successful initiatives. Short case studies will be followed by group discussion to understand what key actions HE staff, responsible for diversity, can take to bring about real change. 

Programme and speakers:
·         Gender equality in an academic department - lessons learnt - Paul Walton, University of York

·         Widening Participation, the TEF and REF – recruitment and marketing - Averil Macdonald, Diversity Lead, SEPnet

·         Learning gain, attainment gaps and student diversity - Sally Jordan, Open University

·         Contracts, work allocation and the long hours’ culture - Peter Main, Kings College London

·         Athena SWAN and Project Juno Applications - top tips and pitfalls - Tracey Berry, Royal Holloway University of London

·         TEF/REF - what are the risks of not engaging? – panel discussion

This event is aimed at HE STEM staff responsible for diversity and inclusion including Athena SWAN, Project Juno and diversity champions, HR managers and academics. 

Refreshments will be provided. The workshop is FREE to attend, places are limited.  Contact to book your place.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Alice Roberts: ‘Science needs more visible women’

Physical anthropologist, author, broadcaster and professor of public engagement in science, Alice Roberts is a 21st-century Renaissance woman. Her face might be most familiar from Channel 4’s Time Team, or BBC2’s Coast, or one of several Horizon programmes she has presented; but she is also a qualified medical doctor, an anatomist and the author of seven popular science books, including the Wellcome prize-nominated The Incredible Unlikeliness of Being.

Professor Alice Roberts pictured in her home city of Bristol.
Professor Alice Roberts. Photograph: Adrian Sherratt for the Guardian

Alice Roberts is on a mission to prove that science needs to engage with the public – and be more diverse.
Read more here:

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

SAT Committee Actions and Notes

Athena Swan SAT meeting 16.10.17: Notes and Actions
ALL (esp. Jim) – Take more care with our email address lists so people don’t get missed off emails
Annette Götz – Arrange female staff coffee morning
Jim Smith – Promote equality and Diversity training: link this to PDRs to encourage uptake. Include all staff plus PhD students.
Michelle Hale/Jim Smith – All staff focus group; half an hour at start of next academic staff meeting; all staff to be invited for session.
Sarah Reynolds – with Rob Inkpen, organise Women in Geo/Env/Geog Sci Event.
Jim Smith – obtain data on success rates for internal promotions
Melvin Vopson – Update blog to better reflect new Athena Swan agenda. Check if automatic emails can be sent to followers when blog is updated. If not, Jim to email all staff with regular updates/items of interest.
David Franklin – Arrange female undergrad focus group.
Jim Smith – Continue work on actions and feedback from last application and review at next SAT meeting best timing for next application.
Jim Smith – Need an undergrad and PhD student on the SAT committee; will discuss at undergrad focus group and send email to PhD students (Orla is finishing soon).
Jim Smith – Invite Lesley Lee (Equality and Diversity Adviser) to present at next SAT meeting.
Female focus group meeting was discussed – this was successful; thanks to Carmen for organising. Actions completed or included above.
Staff Gender/culture survey was discussed – SEES not bad, but could definitely do better. Address this by raising awareness of Athena Swan issues, Equality and Diversity training and addressing gender/culture issues as they arise.
Equality and Diversity Training was discussed. Aim to have all SEES staff having taken the training by Christmas.
Women in Geo/Env/Geol Sci Event – agreed that this was a good idea; thanks to Sarah for volunteering to work with Rob Inkpen on this.
Application for Bronze award – need to show evidence that dept. culture is changing for next application. DF suggested we wait until University renewal application is complete before re-applying; so next application would be Nov 18 or April 19.

Female undergrad focus group – thanks to David Franklin for organising. Any SAT members welcome to attend (pm 1st Nov).

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Solutions to improve workplace culture

Research Associate at Murray Edwards College working on gender equality in careers, University of Cambridge, discusses various ways of improving workplace culture. 

Just talk – A first step would bring teams together in a facilitated, neutral meeting where evidence on workplace culture can be aired and women can describe issues they think they experience because of their gender. Teams can then discuss solutions with the help of the ideas that came from this research.

Making visible how things get done in practice – Power audits are needed by mixed gender teams after a project is finished to make visible how and where decisions were made. This will improve how gender diverse teams work together.

Building close relationships – A key insight from the research stresses the importance of extending mixed gender networks to make it more likely that a woman comes to mind when an opportunity arises. This might include networking with a social agenda: you might have “Walkabout Wednesdays” when everyone is expected to have coffee with someone new. Networking can also happen as a by-product of something useful: for example, “Take Two” buddy ups when you need cover for two hours while you do something outside work. Or it can be directly related to work, perhaps mixed-gender mentoring to share skills and perspectives on a project.

Bystanders amplify – Not having their comments and ideas heard in meetings is one of women’s biggest complaints. Men can help by amplifying a woman’s contribution when they notice it has not been heard; repeating their colleague’s idea and giving her credit.

Actions from leaders - Individual actions need to be authorised by leaders taking a clear stance. Male role models are needed to transform workplace culture – yet the men who take on this role often face backlash. Leaders can help by rewarding and supporting men who make changes to support gender parity.

Read full article here: 

Monday, 9 October 2017

SEES Athena Swan SAT Committee Meeting

The next SEES Athena Swan Committee Meeting will be on Monday 16th October at 16:00 in The Hub. All SEES staff are welcome to come along or suggest an agenda item - please let Jim know if you wish to do so.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

SEES Committee Members

SEES Committee Lists 2017
School Executive
Michelle Hale (HoD)
Craig Storey
Nick Koor
David Franklin
Research and Innovation
Michelle Hale (HoD)
Craig Storey
Nick Koor
Jim Smith
Melvin Vopson
Annette Götz
Andy Gibson
Karen Musk
Learning and Teaching
Michelle Hale (HoD)
David Franklin
Dean Bullen
Anthony Butcher
Health & Safety
Michelle Hale (HoD)
James Coyne
Stephanie Barnett (SCES)
Susan Atkins
1 Vacancy due to retirement

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Widening participation in the Geosciences

Special Edition: Widening participation in the Geosciences
Book now for the Geological Society’s Athena SWAN Workshop – 22 September 2017

On 22 September the Geological Society will be holding a workshop to offer support to Earth Science Department representatives working within Self-Assessment Teams (or Working Groups) who are engaged in advancing equality and diversity and working towards obtaining or renewing an Athena SWAN award. 
The workshop will give participants an opportunity to discuss and deliberate the processes involved in obtaining or maintaining an Athena SWAN award. It will allow participants to discuss issues they may be experiencing, both good and bad, and to offer and seek advice from other applicants at similar stages of the awards process. This workshop is intended to foster positive collaborative support and to help develop an Earth

Science Athena Swan community.  Chaired by Dr Jennifer McKinley, a member of the Society’s Council, the programme will focus on a number of key areas:

•    Planning and Preparation
•    Departmental Analysis and Developing an Action Plan
•    Evidencing Impacts
•    Draft submissions
•    Perspective of an Athena SWAN Panellist
•    Pitfalls and things to avoid

This is an excellent opportunity for a representative of your department or institution to come along and talk with others who share the similar goals and challenges. The workshop is free to attend and is scheduled to take place from 11:00 until 15:00. Timings will be confirmed and a programme circulated closer to the day.

Lunch will be provided, and dietary requirements can be catered for, but we ask that you inform us when expressing your intention to attend. We hope that you or a colleague will be able to join us for the Society’s first workshop.

If you would like further information or to register your interest for the workshop please email 

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Taking Control of your Career as a Female Physicist

Taking Control of your Career as a Female Physicist
Wednesday 15 November, 15.00 – 18.00
Hallam Conference Centre, London W1

Book now to reserve your place!

The IOP and SEPnet are holding a networking careers event for physics undergraduate and PGR students.

Our half-day panel and networking event will give you a chance to find out what career options are available to physicists.  You will hear from a range of female physicists who will talk about their roles and how they got to where they are.  They will provide practical advice and information about the skills and experience you need to progress in your career.

Jenni Dyer, Head of Diversity, IOP, will give the keynote speech.  Speakers include:

Sarah Medley
Tritium Plant Engineer
UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA)
Rikki Douglas
Sales and Marketing Director
Ultra Electronics Nuclear Control Systems
Gwenaelle Lefeuvre
New Technology Development Manager
Micron Semiconductor Ltd
Amy Hearst
Process Engineer
Laura Benn
Magnetic Shields
Caterina Minelli
Senior Research Scientist
National Physical Laboratory
Kathy Romer
Professor of Astrophysics
University of Sussex
Tracey Berry
Senior Lecturer in Physics
Royal Holloway University of London
Ilana Wisby
Product Developer
Snapout Ltd
Helen White
Senior Technical Lead
HMG Contractor

Refreshments will be provided.

Places are limited.  Please register here:    
Members – Free   Non-members - £30      Apply to become a member with the IOP and attend for free: 
SEPnet students can claim support for travel expenses on a first come, first served basis by contacting their SEPnet Employer Engagement Officer.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

SEES Female Focus Group meeting, August 1st 2017

Present : Emily Butcher, Annette Gotz, Michelle Hale, Catherine Mottram,  Anouska Panton,  Sue Ridout, Jessica Roberts, Carmen Solana.

1.       Introduction, welcome and celebration of the excellent news for SEES in 2017:
·         Michelle Hale becomes the first female HoD of SEES. Well done Michelle!
·         We recruited 2 new female academic staff in the department:  Prof. Annette Gotz, our first female professor in SEES and Dr. Catherine Mottram. Welcome Annette and Catherine!
·         Carmen Solana takes over the leadership of the Geohazards BSc course. Fool!!

2.       Issues raised:
·          Although Athena swan has traditionally focused on females, we would like to broaden it into supporting equality in general: parents, staff with illnesses or disabilities, minorities, etc.
·         While academic female staff enjoy the opportunity of flexible hours, technical and admin staff seem to encounter a very inflexible structure. Unfortunately they depend directly from human resources, but there might be opportunities to at least raise this issue. There are cases of good practice, such as James Coyne supporting Emily through allowing her more flexibility at work within her agreed hours. We therefore will support any initiative for admin and technical staff to have the opportunity to, in agreement with the line manager, have a less structured and more flexible working day around the “core hours”.
·         The proposed academic year structure is still being debated and we would like to support the proposal that breaks (e.g. reading weeks/ easter/consolidation week/etc.) coincide with Hampshire schools half term weeks and Easter holidays.  Jim Smith as Athena coordinator, to write to David Sanders informing him of our support to this option.
·         The seminar series continues to run in “non family friendly” times. Catherine, the new organiser, has agreed to test running some of these seminars at lunchtime.
·         Michelle Hale shared her good experience on an intra-faculty all-female water researchers group and proposed that either the is opened to other female lecturers/researchers or to create a new group for SEES. We agreed that more interaction and support to research, paper writing and grant opportunities will be great, maybe starting with some regular  female researchers coffee mornings- to be opened to PhD and Post-doc students as well.
·         Different people proposed more interaction within the department in general. Specifically, Catherine and Anouska (one of the few post-docs in the department) have raised the issue of the lack of opportunities for interaction and to meet more people in the department.  Organising a monthly coffee morning has been proposed.
·         Jessica Roberts, a regular external lecturer on the MSc in Crisis and Disaster Management raised the importance of opening opportunities for women in hourly contracts to formalise their contribution.
·         The department has changed to the better in terms of equality for women but there is still room for improvement: please confront any comment or behaviour that you feel that it is inappropriate or demeaning. If you rather not do it directly please raise the issue with Michelle Hale (as HoD).

3.       Actions and future meetings
·         Catherine to schedule some weekly seminars at lunchtime instead of after 6pm.
·         Jim  as Athena coordinator, to write to David Sanders informing him of our support to this option- maybe gather more support from other people at the school through an email?.
·         Annette, would you mind taking on the organisation of the female coffee mornings?
·         Michelle Hale to propose dates for a monthly coffee morning ( any chance of the department to subsidise coffee& biscuits/cakes to encourage attendance?)

·         Carmen to schedule a new meeting at the beginning of December.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Webinar – Stepping away from the lab, Thursday 27 July, 12.45–13.30pm

The IOP invites you to the webinar – Stepping away from the lab
Thursday 27 July, 12.45–13.30pm  
Are you a female physics PhD or postdoc who knows a career in academia isn’t for you but are unsure what to do next? Then this webinar is for you.
Aimed at female physics early-career researchers who want to stay in physics but move outside academia, it will focus on the what employers look for and how to apply this criteria to your applications. By the end of the webinar you will also understand your career aspirations and values in order to develop your career goals with increased confidence.
Webinar outline: The 45-minute webinar will focus on and cover the following topics:
* Non-academic roles available for physics researchers
* Where to find support (developmental research staff, careers services and the IOP)
* What employers are looking for
* Effective communication skills for any situation
* Building your networks to find out more
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact:  
Vishanti Fox
Careers & CPD Manager
Institute of Physics
76 Portland Place

Many Congratulations to Athena Livesey for gaining one of the top five places in the We are the City Female Future Pipeline Rising Star Awards...

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Female academics do more admin than their male colleagues

Female academics do significantly more internal administrative work than their male counterparts, according to an analysis of surveys performed at US institutions. Carried out by researchers at the University of California, Riverside, and Indiana University, the study found that the gender imbalance is highest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. While such internal work is vital for the day-to-day running of institutions, it is less valuable for promotions and salary increases than research and teaching, possibly hindering female career progression.

In one survey, which included 6875 tenure and tenure-track faculty at 140 US institutions, female academics reported spending, on average, 0.6 hours more per week than males on admin. The researchers also looked at 2012 data from a mandatory performance reporting system at two campuses belonging to a large public university. Covering 1378 faculty, it showed that women perform 12.4 admin activities per year, while men do just 10.9. In STEM subjects, women reported performing three more admin activities per year than men, compared with 2.5 for liberal arts and 0.3 for social sciences.

Read more here  

Friday, 3 March 2017

Athena Swan Committee Meeting

The next Committee Meeting will be at 13.00 on Thursday 16th March. We'll meet in The Hub.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

The annual University of Portsmouth Athena SWAN Conference: 17 May 2017

Save the date in your diaries for the annual University of Portsmouth Athena SWAN Conference on Wednesday 17 May 2017, 1.00pm–4.00pm.  The theme of the 2017 Athena SWAN Conference is ‘Increasing the Diversity of our Talent Pool’, reflecting the commitment of the University to the Extended Principles of Athena SWAN.

Athena SWAN now takes a broader and more inclusive approach to gender equality, having been expanded to cover all areas of the University, not just STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine). It also now covers professional and support staff as well as academic staff and transgender equality for staff and students.

We have an exciting line-up of external and internal speakers, who will include:
Harriet Minter, a journalist and broadcaster specialising in female leadership.  She founded and edited the Guardian’s Women in Leadership section, which focused on women in the workplace, and now writes a column for them on Women in Tech.  She is also a columnist for Psychologies magazine and hosts the Badass Women’s Hour on TalkRadio

Katie Cornhill, a visionary and inspiring leader, a woman who works for Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service that just happens to have a Trans* history. She also previously served for six years in the Royal Marines. Katie uses the fact that she’s a firefighter – a respected role among the local community – to educate others about the need for inclusion and equality, and an end to discrimination due to a persons sexual or gender identity and expression. Katie currently chairs the UK Fire and Rescue Service LGBTQIA+ staff support network, quiltbag and is a Trustee and Role Model for Stonewall. Katie has also orchestrated the development of a consortium of public service networks which currently has 18 member organisations.
Matthew Weait, Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences and the University Athena SWAN Champion.

The conference will be opened by the Vice-Chancellor, Graham Galbraith.
More info: