University of Sheffield's Athena Swan gender equality leadership

 April 28, 2016

The University of Sheffield is well-recognised as a market leader when it comes to recruiting, retaining, developing and promoting female talent. Their roles are exciting, their initiatives are effective and impressive, and their women are incredible thoughtleaders and high achievers.

The University of Sheffield has been presented with a silver institutional Athena SWAN award that recognises their ongoing commitment to gender equality.

The University of Sheffield is now one of nine of an elite group of universities holding silver institution awards. This achievement marks significant progress since their first bronze award in 2008 and its renewal in 2012. The silver award recognises the University's significant and sustained record of activity and achievement in promoting gender equality and in addressing challenges in different disciplines.

Director of Human Resources, Andrew Dodman, said: “I am once again delighted at the recognition awarded to our University by Athena SWAN and would like to extend my congratulations and thanks to everybody involved - you have all worked so hard.

“We aim to attract, engage and develop the best talent, and our Athena SWAN success will act as further motivation to help us continue to embed inclusivity throughout the University, and create a truly remarkable place to work".

The silver award is testimony to the broad range of activity at University level: for example their Women Academics Returners Programme (WARP), mentoring programmes and active women’s network.

They have also focused on bringing more gender balance to their leadership and committee roles. They’ve seen a marked increase in female representation on Senate over the last 10 years with 40 per cent of Senators now female compared to 20.5 per cent in 2006–7, and 44 per cent of the members of Senate committees are female.

One third of the University Council are female, the highest proportion in eight years. They've appointed their first female Chancellor, the Rt Hon Lady Justice Rafferty, and their first female Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Shearer West.

The award is also in recognition of the achievements of all of their award-winning departments, in particular those that have been recognised in the latest awards. Many congratulations to Animal & Plant Sciences who have had their silver award renewed and to Materials Science & Engineering and Chemistry for receiving silver awards.

Professor Lorraine Maltby, who chairs the University’s Gender Equality Committee, said: “Achieving an Athena SWAN award is not easy - it requires hard work and dedication from many people and a genuine commitment to change. This is a fantastic achievement by all those involved and is testimony to how importantly gender equality is viewed.”

In recognition of their achievements, the University will be hosting the National Athena SWAN awards ceremony later in the year. This is a great opportunity to celebrate their success and to congratulate all the winners in this round.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Shearer West is to deliver the opening address and looks forward to officially welcoming some of the University’s own Athena SWAN champions, aswell as Athena Swan dignitaries and members of other award winning universities.

Did you know? All of the University of Sheffield's STEMM departments, plus Archaeology, hold an Athena SWAN award.  Three years ago, when the University renewed its Bronze award no individual departments held an award. 

“There is however more to do,” said Andrew Dodman. “Our silver level institutional action plan takes into account the need for continuous engagement with decision makers to effect culture change, and the need to build greater capability amongst staff at all levels.”


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Disclosure: Where Women Work researches and publishes insightful evidence about how its paid member organizations support women's equality.

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