Athena SWAN

Silver Athena SWAN Award

In 2015, the School was awarded an Athena SWAN Silver Award. We are passionate about creating an inclusive environment for all. In addition to University of Reading-wide policies, our Silver Award means that as a School we have identified particular challenges and are planning activities for the future. We have assessed where the School is regarding gender equality and diversity in quantitative (staff and student data) and qualitative (policies, practices, systems and arrangements) terms, identifying both challenges and opportunities. We have an action plan that builds on the assessment, the activities that are already in place and what has been learnt from these. We also have an organisational structure to carry proposed actions forward, namely an Athena SWAN Leadership Group and a Wellbeing, Equality and Diversity Committee.

On-going equality, diversity and wellbeing initiatives:

  • The development of SAGES Wellbeing, Equality and Diversity committee in order to enhance individual staff development, increase engagement with University and School strategic aims and to embed issues of equality within all of our working practices;
  • Improved induction processes for staff and PGs, enhanced communication across SAGES and increased transparency on SAGES decision-making processes;
  • Extensive improvements across SAGES in physical infrastructure, particularly Russell Building towards GES cohesion;
  • Implementation of new mentoring and review processes with guidance at School-level for contribution of SAGES within the University, improved focus on training opportunities across all staff grades, and close attention to promotion possibilities for staff;
  • Engagement of SAGES staff and students on topic of ‘women in science’ through year-long project (2014/15) of ‘Gender and Fieldwork’ (career sessions, mini-conference, Norma Wilkinson Lecture).
  • As part of the Gender and Fieldwork Project a School-wide photography competition took place in 2015. This was aimed at capturing examples of fieldwork from across the School.

Please see our SAGES Athena SWAN Silver application and SAGES Athena SWAN Silver Action Plan.

Gundula Mueldner receives the Bronze Athena SWAN Department award on behalf of the School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Sciences

In 2011, the School was awarded an Athena SWAN Bronze Award. We are passionate about creating an inclusive environment for all. In addition to University of Reading-wide policies, our Bronze Award means that as a School we have identified particular challenges and are planning activities for the future. We have assessed where the School is regarding gender equality in quantitative (staff and student data) and qualitative (policies, practices, systems and arrangements) terms, identifying both challenges and opportunities. We have an action plan that builds on the assessment, the activities that are already in place and what has been learnt from these. We also have an organisational structure to carry proposed actions forward, namely an Equality Officer and Staff Development and Wellbeing Committee.

All Athena SWAN members sign up to the principles of the charter:

  • To address gender inequalities requires commitment and action from everyone, at all levels of the organisation;
  • To tackle the unequal representation of women in science requires changing cultures and attitudes across the organisation;
  • The absence of diversity at management and policy-making levels has broad implications which the organisation will examine;
  • The high loss rate of women in science is an urgent concern which the organisation will address;
  • The system of short-term contracts has particularly negative consequences for the retention and progression of women in science, which the organisation recognises;
  • There are both personal and structural obstacles to women making the transition from PhD into a sustainable academic career in science, which require the active consideration of the organisation.

Our School-specific objectives relating to Athena SWAN:

1. To aspire to a culture of equality for our staff (academic, admin, research and technical) and students;

2. To enhance induction, communication and consultation processes within and between Archaeology, GES and SAGES;

3. To improve collegiality and achieve a more cohesive structure in SAGES;

4. To foster a supportive culture of mentoring, review (PDRs), training and promotion across SAGES (regardless of career stage).

Further information

For more information about the School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science Athena SWAN Silver Award please contact our Equality Officer, Dr Hilary Geoghegan at h.geoghegan@reading.ac.uk.

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