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Bristol commended for good practice in employing women

Press release issued: 1 September 2008

Bristol University has received a further national award celebrating good practice in employing women in science, engineering and technology (SET) departments.

Bristol University has received a further national award celebrating good practice in employing women in science, engineering and technology (SET) departments.

The Athena SWAN (Scientific Women’s Academic Network) Charter, funded by the Equality Challenge Unit and the UK Resource Centre for Women (UKRC) in SET, is a scheme open to universities and research institutions, giving them the opportunity to apply for awards at bronze, silver and gold levels.

Athena SWAN bronze awards are given to university departments and institutions that support female staff and students, silver awards are given to those that demonstrate substantial progress in attracting women and improving their career prospects, and gold awards are reserved for those that clearly demonstrate significant progress on gender equality in SET.

The University’s Department of Physiology and Pharmacology has received a silver award for their successes in recruiting and promoting women in their careers and for developing a staff review and development programme to identify barriers or gaps in CVs that could potentially hold up career progression, and actions to address these barriers, such as mentoring.

Paul Martin, Professor of Cell Biology in the University’s Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, said: “We are proud of the successes of the women in our department, and indeed the programmes we have set in motion because of the SWAN agenda are benefiting all of us. Inspired by the Olympics we now want to go on and get a gold award.”

Professor Len Hall, Pro Vice-Chancellor and incoming Chair of the University’s Athena SWAN Charter Implementation Group, added: "This excellent and well-deserved achievement by the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology follows on from the University’s receipt of a bronze award in 2006 and the Department of Biochemisty’s silver award in 2007.  Over the coming years the Implementation Group will aim to ensure that good practice which prevails in these departments is extended across all SET subject areas within the University of Bristol."

Julie Ashdown, Manager of the Athena SWAN programme, said: “Increasing the participation of women in SET is vital for innovation and, in a traditionally male dominated discipline, these awards show which universities care about making their SET departments an attractive place for women to work in order to attract and retain them. The award winners have clearly shown their commitment to making positive changes in their working practices.” 

Other awardees this year included the Schools of Psychology, and of Mechanical, Materials and Manufacturing Engineering at the University of Nottingham, which received silver awards. The University of Bedfordshire, King’s College London, Lancaster University, the University of Leicester, the University of Manchester and the University of Reading received bronze awards.

The awards will be presented at a celebratory lunch at the Zoological Society of London on Thursday 18 September 2008.


Further information

The Athena SWAN Charter is a scheme which recognises excellence in Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) employment for women in higher education and research. Any university or research institution which is committed to the advancement and promotion of the careers of women in SET in higher education and research can apply for membership. Over twenty five per cent of all eligible universities are now members.
Please contact Tracy Brunnock-Cook for further information.
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