The School of Health and Social Work is committed to recognising and addressing gender equality across academia for all students and staff. We have held an Athena SWAN Bronze award since April 2015, which acknowledges our commitment to gender equality.
Athena SWAN was established to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment in higher education and research. In 2015 this was expanded to include other fields and work undertaken to address gender equality more broadly. Visit the Athena SWAN website for more information.
Karen is the head of the School’s Equality, Wellbeing and Inclusivity Committee, which is preparing our Athena SWAN Silver submission.
Ensuring the Athena SWAN charter principles are embedded within the School and University presents many challenges and requires the commitment of all; I look forward to leading on that work in the School of Health and Social Work with Hubert.
I took up my post at the University of Hertfordshire in March 2017. I had previously worked in the School of Health Sciences at the University of Nottingham where, amongst other roles, I was a member of the Athena SWAN SAT team. As such, I am familiar with the Athena SWAN agenda and I bring that experience and knowledge with me into job-sharing the Champion role.
My background contributes to a strong commitment to equality and diversity. I’m from a rural working class background and it wasn’t common for girls from my background to go on to further education. I worked for two years before deciding I would do a degree and I was the first member in my immediate family to do so.
I went to Trent Polytechnic (now Nottingham Trent University). I then stayed in Nottingham and for the next 10 years or so worked in the voluntary and statutory sectors in homelessness, welfare rights, domestic violence and community development. During this time I did a part time MA in Women’s Studies (University of Bradford) and that whet my appetite to study further and do a PhD. I had no idea how I might manage that but a few years later a combination of factors led me down that route.
Since completing my PhD I have worked in academia – taking a research only career pathway (although not planned as such). I am a family sociologist and my research interests broadly address family lives, health and well-being across the life-course.
For the past 10 years I felt very fortunate to have a post funded through a Family Trust donation made to the University of Nottingham to set up a research centre into palliative and end of life care. It is rare to have such long term funding as a Research Fellow and in those ten years I progressed to Senior and then Principal Research Fellow.
I’m very committed to supporting and mentoring early career researchers.
My daughter was one when I started my PhD so my academic career has spanned her lifetime (she is now 20). She was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome when she was 15. That’s had a big impact on her life and - as her only parent - on my life too. Having a work/life balance can some times sound a bit clichéd but it is incredibly important to me. I consider raising my daughter to become the young woman she is, to be my biggest achievement. That said, my work is also important – and my daughter is incredibly proud of her mum becoming a Prof!
What has enabled me to overcome my limitations and be fulfilled, apart from people being kind and supportive, is education. Education should be accessible to all.
I have felt strongly about gender issues for many years. I object to suggestions that gender determines what people can achieve in life, as much as I resist certain expectations based on little more than that I am a man. I hope to make a positive contribution to gender equality at UH.
I am employed at UH as a postgraduate lecturer at the School for Health and Social Work. My main interest is persistent pain, and how we can empower both patients and clinicians to deal with this. My clinical training is in physiotherapy as well as Chinese acupuncture, and I have an MSc in Pain. In my PhD I investigated persistent post-surgical pain, with a focus on healthcare needs for long-term pain after caesarean section.
When I don’t work at UH I teach acupuncture courses, work on publications, and practise pain management and acupuncture.
I live with my wife and cats (gender balanced). I continue to practise pain management, physiotherapy and acupuncture. I also teach acupuncture courses.
In 2014, the School of Health and Social Work set up a Self-Assessment Team (SAT) and successfully applied for the Bronze Award.
The team is currently preparing for the Athena SWAN Silver Award, which requires that the School demonstrates that it has acted on its Bronze action plan and addresses wider equality issues. To reflect this, the team has been renamed the Equality, Wellbeing and Diversity Committee (EWIC).
Our Athena SWAN work has led to a range of improvements in our School. Examples include:
There are also a number of University-wide initiatives.
Since being awarded an Athena SWAN Bronze award, staff across the School of Health and Social Work have organised a number of new Athena SWAN initiatives and events, open to all members of staff and students.