01 May 2014

Support of women in science recognised with award

Hull York Medical School (HYMS) has been awarded a bronze award from the Athena SWAN Charter in recognition of its support for women in science.

It has been granted the award under the national scheme, which recognises and celebrates good practice in recruiting, retaining and promoting women in Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) in higher education.

The Dean, Professor Trevor Sheldon, said: "We are delighted to have received this award in recognition of our efforts to change and improve our practices. We will build on our bronze award to further advance the careers of women who teach and research in areas relevant to health and medicine. This marks the first step; we still have much to do to foster a culture where women are given every opportunity to succeed. I would like to thank the many people who contributed to our submission and who are helping to transform our medical school."

As part of the requirements for submission, HYMS has developed an action plan to support the development of all its academic staff. The plan includes a number of initiatives to support its staff, particularly female academics. These include mentorship, career development support, instituting a prize for most outstanding woman in science.

Professor Una Macleod, who led the submission, said: "HYMS aims to provide a working environment where all staff are encouraged to work to their full potential and are rewarded without regard to gender, race, age, sexual orientation, disability or belief. We are currently undergoing a process of change and are determined that any cultural barriers to all our staff, including women, meeting their full potential will be removed."

The Athena SWAN Awards recognise success in developing employment practices to further and support the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) departments in academia.

Overall, 125 departments and universities submitted for an Athena SWAN award in the April 2014 round, and 89 were successful – a 71% success rate. The disciplines with the highest number of submissions were medical and dental schools.

The University of York also had its bronze Athena SWAN institution award renewed, as well as a bronze award for the Department of Mathematics. These are in addition to existing awards for the Departments of Psychology and Physics (silver awards) and the Departments of Computer Science, Health Sciences and Electronics (bronze awards).

The Athena SWAN Charter is owned by Equality Challenge Unit. An independent evaluation by Loughborough University shows that membership of the Athena SWAN Charter helps to advance women’s careers and has a positive impact on changing the culture and attitudes in member institutions.

Athena Swan Bronze Award logo