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.

Monday, 30 July 2018

Focus group meeting

Women focus meeting notes

Present: Carol Gough, Anette Goetz, Natalia Walasek, Emily Butcher and Carmen Solana.

New items:
           Anette Goetz delivered her inaugural talk on March 14.
-          Good news in the women front in SEES: Carmen Solana achieved the grade of Reader with effect from September.
-         A new 0.4 lecturer, Dr Jessica Roberts, will be joining us from September.
Discussion points:
-         With Janet and Carol retiring and some female PhD students finishing, we are missing some of our Female members. Fortunately we hope that new opportunities will open to new students.
-        We encouraged NW and EB to continue their research.
-        Since Michelle took over the department we feel that there are less “clicky male groups” and “bloke culture” and that there is more transparency on opportunities.
-        As AG and CS were the only academics able to attend, we did not discuss any of the recent opportunities for women (Aurora and Springboards programs) but we will do this in the next meeting in the Autumn.

Next meeting to be scheduled in September-October.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Athena Swan SAT meeting 17.04.18

Athena Swan SAT meeting 17.04.18: Notes and Actions


This meeting focussed on a presentation from Lesley Lee, University Equality and Diversity Advisor. Lesley summarised the recent changes in Athena Swan and key things to consider when putting in an application. Timing of application for SEES was discussed in the light of the potential merger with Geography. Ongoing Athena Swan actions were discussed.


Jim Smith – Continue to 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. Plan for Semester 2 2019 with all staff and undergrads in both departments invited. Potential speakers: Rachel Mills, Dean at Southampton Uni; Michelle Hale, Speaker from Geography, Ex-student. Aim for Wednesday afternoon.

Melvin Vopson/Jim Smith – Continue with blog

Jim Smith – Continue work on actions and feedback from last application. Timing for next application Autumn 2019.

"Equalbite: Gender equality in HE" e-book

The book ‘EqualBITE: Gender equality in Higher Education’ is a useful resource, available as an e-book at

Parents and Carers Working Group - Invitation for participants.

The Work/Life Balance and Family Friendly Policies Working Group of the University Athena SWAN Self-Assessment Team is leading on setting up a University Parents and Carers Network for staff, which is an  action in our University Athena SWAN Action Plan.  The full action is:-

"To set up a Parents and Carers community for staff to raise awareness of issues facing parents and carers and encourage mutual support and networking"

The members of the Working Group are:- Lesley Lee; Emma Scott-Ward, Academic Registry; Sherria Hoskins, Dean of Science; Darren Van Laar, Director of the Graduate School and Mihaela Cocea, School of Computing.

We have researched best practice in other Universities, and have had some initial discussions, but would now like to invite a wider group of staff who may be interested in helping set up such a group to get involved and share their ideas on the best approach.  We would like to hold a very informal meeting before the end of term to share information on the approaches other Universities have taken, and to get people's ideas on what would be effective here at Portsmouth.  Using that information, we will then work towards launching the new network in the new academic year.

If you are interested in getting involved, please contact Lesley Lee, University Equality and Diversity Adviser.

Monday, 14 May 2018

Career Pathways for Women in STEM

Career Pathways 2018
Date:  Tuesday 12th June Time: 11am – 6pm
Venue: Institute of Physics, 80 Portland Place, London W1B 1NT

The Women in Materials Group are delighted to announce the return of Career Pathways for Women in STEM this year. The event is kindly sponsored and hosted by the Institute of Physics and will be held at their central office located near Regent’s Park, London.

This event is a unique forum for inspiring female role models, who have used a science degree to underpin their careers, to share their employment experiences and challenges to date. Our speakers will be well-established professionals and eminent academics representing a diverse range of disciplines; from science policy and academia to entrepreneurship and engineering. We will also hear from recent graduates about the challenges faced make their early career choices.

This is an exciting opportunity to network, ask questions and engage with your fellow students in a supportive environment. All undergraduates and postgraduates are encouraged to attend, regardless of gender or academic background.

The venue is fully wheelchair accessible if there are any additional requirements we should know about please get in contact.
Travel costs to/from London will need to be covered by the individual. If you have any difficulty funding your own travel please email

To register interest, please sign up here:
For more information about the event and speakers, please click attending on our Facebook event:

Monday, 16 April 2018

Athena Swan SAT meeting 30.01.18: Notes and Actions

Athena Swan SAT meeting 30.01.18: Notes and Actions
Jim Smith – Continue to 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. Plan for December 2018 with all staff and undergrads in both departments invited. Potential speakers: Rachel Mills, Dean at Southampton Uni; Michelle Hale, Speaker from Geography, Ex-student. Aim for Wednesday afternoon.
Jim Smith – obtain data on success rates for internal promotions
Melvin Vopson – Continue with blog
David Franklin – Send survey of SEES leavers’ starting salaries in relation to gender/course.
Jim Smith – Continue work on actions and feedback from last application. Timing for next application April 2019.
Jim Smith – Email to PhD and undergrad students for missing posts on committee.
Jim Smith – Invite Lesley Lee (Equality and Diversity Adviser) to present at next SAT meeting, hopefully when University result is known.
Female undergraduate focus group meeting was discussed – this was successful; thanks to Carmen for organising. 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. More than half of SEES staff have completed the training and remaining have been reminded to complete.
Women in Geo/Env/Geol Sci Event – planning progressing on this (see Actions); 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. Agreed that we wait until University renewal application is complete before re-applying; so next application would be April 19.
Female undergrad focus group – thanks to David Franklin for organising. Outcomes were discussed.
If/when Physics move to Faculty of Technology, we will lose Melvin and Edith. Edith will pass twitter account over to Sarah (thanks to Sarah for taking over); Melvin has kindly agreed to keep the blog going.

Monday, 29 January 2018

SEES Female Focus Group meeting January 2018

SEES Female Focus Group meeting, January 18st 2018 - Notes by Carmen Solana

Present : Emily Butcher, Annette Goetz, Michelle Hale, Catherine Mottram,  Carol Gough, Natalia Walasek, Carmen Solana.

1.       Introduction and welcome.

2.       Themes previously raised (Black) and resolution/actions (red):
·          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.
Although we ant to make this an inclusive group to support everybody that needs it, we decided that it is better to start with the focus of women in SEES.
·         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”.
Currently the department supports flexibility for those that need it, but the policy and how to apply for this might not be clear. Michelle Hale to write to all the department highlighting the policy and application procedure.
·         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.
Some success has been achieved in this front, with the University aligning the February and Easter reading weeks with school holidays.
·         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.
Catherine has scheduled some lunchtime seminars, some of which have been very successful. Issues were raised about participations of PhD students and possible coordination with MSc courses.
·         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.
Partly successful
·         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.
Michelle has already organised two coffee mornings and will continue to do so in regular basis.
·         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.

3.       New themes raised
·         More support between female researchers: we all want to write papers but gets postponed. Michelle shared again that she is part of a facebook group and suggested to try something similar in SEES.
·         Carmen to test creating a sees-women-researchers group to advertise times to “meet” to write papers- meaning to seat in a quiet area to each individually work in a paper.
·         To celebrate female success in this semester, to create a google docs document in which everybody adds their achievements, papers, applications (as well as Michelle’s advertising in the sees-staff group).

4.       Agreed actions and future meetings
·         Catherine: 1- to keep scheduling lunchtime seminars- but keep the afternoon ones as well . This semester there are more female speakers than male on the seminars! Good role models for pour female students! 2- To look into organising at some point a PhD students conference in which PhD students have to present their research.
·         Annette, to organise another women coffee morning around the end of March.
·         Michelle Hale: 1- To email around the department the flexible work policy and application instructions. 2-

·         Carmen: 1- To create the Google doc  “female achievent,  August 2017- Jan 2018” for all to contribute to, 2- To create the sees-female-researchers email group and start the ball rolling on advertising times for writing papers  and 3- to schedule a new meeting around June-july.

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Royal Society of Biology Best Practice Workshop 7th March 2018

The Royal Society of Biology, with support from the members of this Diversity and Inclusion working group, are holding an Athena SWAN best practice workshop on Wednesday 7th March 2018
Registrations for the event are now open, and a link to the event page can be found here: 
This event is free to attend and applications will close on 8th February. Successful applicants will be notified by the 14th February. Due to the tight timelines we would greatly appreciate your help in promoting this event. 
Please may you promote and share with your relevant networks, and anyone who might be interested, or involved in submitting an Athena SWAN application. These may be Heads of university departments, department administrators and anyone who has an active involvement in raising the profile of diversity and inclusion within their institutions. 
An overview of the programme is below: 
10:30   Registration, tea and coffee
11:00   Introduction to the event
           Dr Pat Goodwin FRSB, Royal Society of Biology Diversity Champion
11:10   Importance of the Athena SWAN charter
11:40   Workshop 1: Designing Action Plans to be SMART
           Annie Ruddlesden, Equality Challenge Unit
12:40   Networking Lunch
13:40   Workshop 2: Qualitative data and descriptive analysis
           Dr Kevin Guyan, Equality Challenge Unit
14:40   Experiences of applying for Athena SWAN Bronze Award
           Dr Lucy Jones FRSB, Kingston University
15:00   Tea and Coffee break
15:15   Bridging the gap between Bronze and Silver Athena SWAN
           Dr Rachel Simmonds, University of Surrey
15:35   Panel Discussion
           Broadening participation and expanding the concept of Diversity and Inclusion
           Dr Lucy Jones FRSB, Kingston University; Dr Rachel Simmonds, University of Surrey;
           Mr Daniel Greenwood, Francis Crick Institute. Additional panel members TBC

Monday, 8 January 2018

Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics

To all Portsmouth female Physics students, please attend this presentation:
10 Jan at 13.00-13.15

There is an opportunity for a limited number of our female physics students to attend the Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics:

CUWiPUK - 15-18 March 2018 University of Oxford

with expenses paid. For details see:

Previously our students have attended and thoroughly enjoyed it. Cherie and Kirsten attended last year and they are happy to discuss with any students interested in attending this year. 

To this end a meeting has been arranged for those interested 1300-1315  on Wed 10th Jan in BB1.25

The deadline for applications is 5pm, 19th January 2018 and I would definitely encourage you to take advantage of this great opportunity.
If you wish to apply to apply please prepare you application and confirm this in an email to: