Press Releases

Female opportunities in construction recognised with national award – University of Reading

Release Date : 13 October 2009

The School of Construction Management and Engineering at the University of Reading has become the first Construction Management school to be awarded a Silver Award by Athena SWAN. The awards recognise and celebrate good employment practice for women working in science, engineering and technology in higher education and research.

Professor Will Hughes, Head of the School of Construction Management and Engineering, said: "I am delighted that the School's work in ensuring equal opportunities practices and procedures for women has been recognised by these national awards.

"The construction industry is historically a male dominated environment and there are always considerable challenges facing female students and staff in this discipline. Among other comments, Athena SWAN recognised our work to create a comprehensive package of support for our female members of staff, the promotion of female role models in construction, our workload models, the incorporation of Athena SWAN into the induction process, participation in the 'Women in Property' awards scheme as a networking opportunity and the buddy scheme for staff on long-term breaks.

"We are determined to build on this success and have set up working parties to ensure that there is no impediment to female staff and students developing their careers in construction through the University of Reading."

The University of Reading was awarded a bronze Athena SWAN award in 2008 to recognise good practice at an institutional level in employing women in science, engineering and technology (SET) departments.

The Athena SWAN (Scientific Women's Academic Network) Charter, funded by the Equality Challenge Unit and the UK Resource Centre for Women (UKRC) in SET, is a scheme open to universities and research institutions, giving them the opportunity to apply for awards at bronze, silver and gold levels.

Athena SWAN awards are given to university departments and institutions that support female staff and students. They recognise good practice on recruiting and promoting women in universities. The awards include recognising action plans on gender equality, providing positive support for women at key career transition points and changing the culture and the gender balance in decision making.

For more information about the Athena Swan Charter visit


Further information from Alex Brannen, Media Relations Manager, on 0118 378 7388

Notes to editors:

Images of the award accepted by Geraldine Excell, School of Construction Management and Engineering Teaching and Learning Manager, are available.

The University of Reading is ranked as one of the UK's top research-intensive universities. The quality and diversity of the University's research and teaching is recognised internationally as one of the top 200 universities in the world.

32% of the postgrad students (2008) in the School of Construction Management and Engineering are females and 20.3 % of undergrads. The School employs 24 female academic members of staff.

More information about the School of Construction Management and Engineering at

University of Reading is a member of the 1994 Group of 19 leading research-intensive universities. The Group was established in 1994 to promote excellence in university research and teaching. Each member undertakes diverse and high-quality research, while ensuring excellent levels of teaching and student experience.


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