Athena SWAN

Coventry University is proud to have been granted the Bronze Athena SWAN Award (for 2016 - 20).

Originally Athena awards focused solely on progression of female academics working in STEMM. However in May 2015 the charter was expanded to also include arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL), and professional and support roles, and for trans staff and students.The charter now recognises work undertaken to address gender equality, and not just barriers to progression that affect women.

Athena SWAN Bronze Award logo

Extension of award

Following a national review of the Charter Institutions due to renew in 2020 we have been given the opportunity to apply for an extension to their original award. We have taken up this option and are currently awaiting the outcome.

Athena Swan Award 2016

Gender equality is essential for any successful organisation so we are thrilled to have been successful with our application. I would like to thank all staff who contributed, including the ASAT team and anyone who responded to our survey or came to a focus group. We realise this is a continuing journey and look forward to working with colleagues to deliver our action plan.

Ray Farmer, Academic Dean of EEC and Chair of the Coventry University Athena Swan Action Team (ASAT)

To achieve the award, the University had to submit a four-year action plan, showing how it would progress and further gender equality for its staff.

Visit the ECU Athena site

Equality Challenge Unit (ECU) works to further and support equality and diversity for staff and students in higher education institutions.


The work is developed and overseen by the Athena SWAN Action Team (ASAT) which comprises staff at a variety of seniority and from a range of areas.  ASAT reports to the University’s Equality and Diversity Committee to help maintain a high profile for this work.

Athena SWAN has ten principles; to join the Charter, vice-chancellors or principals must indicate that their institution will take action to address these areas.

1. We acknowledge that academia cannot reach its full potential unless it can benefit from the talents of all.

2. We commit to advancing gender equality in academia, in particular, addressing the loss of women across the career pipeline and the absence of women from senior academic, professional and support roles.

3. We commit to addressing unequal gender representation across academic disciplines and professional and support functions. In this we recognise disciplinary differences including:

  • the relative underrepresentation of women in senior roles in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL)
  • the particularly high loss rate of women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM)

4. We commit to tackling the gender pay gap.

5. We commit to removing the obstacles faced by women, in particular, at major points of career development and progression including the transition from PhD into a sustainable academic career.

6. We commit to addressing the negative consequences of using short-term contracts for the retention and progression of staff in academia, particularly women.

7. We commit to tackling the discriminatory treatment often experienced by trans people.

8. We acknowledge that advancing gender equality demands commitment and action from all levels of the organisation and in particular active leadership from those in senior roles.

9. We commit to making and mainstreaming sustainable structural and cultural changes to advance gender equality, recognising that initiatives and actions that support individuals alone will not sufficiently advance equality.

10. All individuals have identities shaped by several different factors. We commit to considering the intersection of gender and other factors wherever possible.

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