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Gender equality

Scientist in lab coat and goggles, stood in front of a brain scan

ARU is committed to advancing gender equality, and holds an institutional silver Athena Swan award.

What is Athena Swan?

The Athena Swan Charter is Advance HE’s framework to improve gender equality within higher education and research. Established in 2005, Athena Swan is used worldwide to enable organisations to identify opportunities to address barriers and create a more inclusive university culture and experience for people of all genders.

Our silver Athena Swan award

ARU have been committed to the charter since 2012 and were first awarded an institutional bronze award in 2014. This was renewed in 2018.

In 2024, ARU was awarded an institutional silver award in acknowledgement of its sustained progress in advancing gender equality.

The key successes that contributed to our silver status are:

  • Enhanced our maternity and adoption pay in 2023, placing ARU as a top provider in UK HE sector alongside six other UK HEIs who provide 26 weeks' full pay.
  • Increased percentage of professors who are women from 28% in 2014/15, to 31% in 2017/18, to 38% in 2022/23.
  • Increased positive responses to flexible working question on staff surveys from 79% in 2015, to 81% in 2017, to 90% in 2023.
  • Launched the Academic Career Framework in 2020. This has led to a significant annual increase in academic promotion applications since launch, and was a driver for greater gender equality in our professoriate.
  • Increased percentage of submissions from women in REF2021 (50%) compared with REF2014 (47%).
  • Introduced free period products to over 40 bathrooms across all ARU campuses.

What’s next?

ARU will now work through its Athena Swan Silver Action Plan 2024-2029. This action plan focuses on five key priorities that were identified through consultation with our colleagues and students:

  1. Building a robust infrastructure to sustain implementation of ARU’s Athena Swan Silver Action Plan 2024-2029, including building student and staff data dashboards, increasing the percentage of colleagues sharing their personal data with us, and supporting our four Faculties to achieve at least Athena Swan bronze awards.
  2. Addressing and improving gaps in data, policy, and practice, including reviewing our family-related leave policies, developing our support for students and staff who are carers, and reviewing and improving our recruitment procedures.
  3. Tackling unacceptable behaviours, including reviewing bullying and harassment processes and support for students and staff, and delivering staff and student training.
  4. Intersectionality
  5. Staff and student development

Get in touch

If you would like further information about Athena Swan at ARU, contact our Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion team at [email protected]