All too often we class gender equality as a women’s issue when, in reality, gender equality is everyone’s issue.
Athena SWAN draws attention to the multifaceted nature of gender inequality and highlights that academia cannot reach its full potential unless it can benefit from the talents of all.
The University has identified the achievement of Athena SWAN awards at institutional and School level as a key objective within the People strand of its Strategic Plan 2015-2020.
The under-representation of women in certain subject areas and at senior level continues to be a national issue. At the University of Hertfordshire:
But issues such as the under-achievement of young men is also a cause for concern. Men have a lot to gain from gender equality; they are constrained by gender norms and stereotypes just like women:
Ones’ gender also intersects with other inequalities, such as ethnicity, age and social class, which results in varying configurations of discrimination otherwise known as intersectionality.
Athena SWAN is much more than a tick-box exercise. The awards and the application process has motivated the University and its academic Schools to examine their policies and practices, improve communication through consultation with staff, identify gaps and embed good practice where it exists.
Athena SWAN is also important:
The University of Hertfordshire and its Schools are making a conscious effort to create the conditions in which people of all genders thrive. We hope Athena SWAN will bring about a long term culture change that will benefit all staff.
For more information, visit the Athena SWAN website.
Read our stories of Women in Science at the University of Hertfordshire