Gender equalityAthena Swan

Why is Strathclyde involved?

A better environment for women AND men

Gender equality is not just a women’s issue. Athena SWAN highlights that, while bad practice in this area disproportionately disadvantages women, good practice benefits everyone.

Athena SWAN is much more than a stamp of approval. The very process of applying for an award motivates departments to examine their policies and practices, improve communication through consultation with staff,  identify gaps and embed good practice where it exists.

The awards recognise and reward policies and cultures which build a positive working environment for staff of both genders and at all levels. Examples include flexible working hours, fair and transparent recruitment and promotion policies and practice and strong training and career development opportunities.


The under representation of women in certain subject areas and at senior level is a national issue in Higher Education.

Disciplines with serious gender inequality are at risk of failing to attract and retain talented people and of having an unbalanced approach to research and teaching. This was recently addressed in the Royal Society of Edinburgh’s ‘Tapping all our Talents’ report.

Major funding bodies have strongly identified the need to address the problem and have identified Athena SWAN as an important marker for Universities to demonstrate their commitment and progress in addressing gender inequality.

The Scottish Funding Council expects HEIs to monitor and report on their progress towards Athena SWAN awards.

Research Councils UK (RCUK) issued a statement in 2013 advocating strong evidential commitment by Universities and their departments to equality and diversity, citing Athena SWAN membership and awards as an example. The statement indicates that future grant funding is likely to be based on achieving formal equality and diversity accreditation.

The University has identified the achievement of Athena SWAN awards at departmental level as a key objective in its Equality Outcomes 2017-2021

The Equality Outcomes have been developed as part of the University’s compliance with the Equality Act 2010 and the Public Sector Equality Duty and are also included in our Outcome Agreement 2014-17 with the Scottish Funding Council, which sets out what we plan to deliver in return for SFC funding.