QMUL recognised for improving gender equality

Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) has received a Silver Athena SWAN award for the first time, in recognition of commitment to the advancement of gender equality in academia.

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The university is committed to developing actions to address gender equality challenges, such as improving recruitment of women professors and their representation at senior appointments and committees.

Professor Simon Gaskell, the Principal and President of QMUL, said: “I am delighted that the commitment to gender equality at Queen Mary has been recognised with a Silver Athena SWAN award.”  

“The award builds on our long-standing commitment to equality of representation and opportunity for our staff and students, which is rooted in our values and our proud history as a pioneer of providing university education for women. We will use this award as a platform to secure further progress in this area.”

Going for Silver

The Silver award follows the development of a number of initiatives, including mandatory training to help combat unconscious bias, which is when our brains jump to make quick judgments and assessments of people and situations without us realising.

QMUL is also recognised for building a plan to:

  • Nurture the student pipeline and student support, which includes tackling underrepresentation of male students especially in the Humanities and Social Sciences, and maintaining the number of female students for Postgraduate Research programmes in STEMM subjects;    
  • Piloting four new approaches to mentoring in the next academic year;
  • Ensure a gender balanced selection panel and speakers at debates.  

Building on Bronze

The award improves on the Bronze status for the university, originally granted in 2008, and is valid for the next three years.

The Athena SWAN scheme is run by the Equality Challenge Unit, a charity that supports equality and diversity for staff and students in higher education across the UK. The Charter was established in 2005 to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment in higher education and research.

All STEMM departments from QMUL’s School of Medicine and Dentistry and Faculty of Science and Engineering hold a bronze or silver Athena SWAN award, with the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences being the first department at QMUL to be awarded Silver Athena SWAN in 2013.

The charter now recognises work undertaken to address gender equality more broadly including in the arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law, and takes account of professional and support roles, trans staff and students and not just barriers to progression that affect women.

Last year, QMUL’s School of Geography was awarded a bronze award, the first department in QMUL’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences to achieve this status.

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Rupert Marquand
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