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University awarded Athena SWAN Silver

Athena SWAN Silver logo

The University of Reading has received a Silver level Athena SWAN award from the Equality Challenge Unit. We are now amongst a small group of universities who have achieved this fantastic accolade.

Athena SWAN recognises the work undertaken by an institution to advance greater gender equality.

Our University has held a Bronze level award since 2016. In December last year, we applied to upgrade this award to a Silver.

Over the past three years, we have worked on a range of initiatives to encourage greater gender equality at our institution. Colleagues across the institution have contributed to this work, supported by Professors Simon Chandler-Wilde and Ellie Highwood – our previous Deans for Diversity and Inclusion – and Vice-Chancellor Robert Van de Noort, who is the Gender Champion in the University Executive Board.

The University’s application highlighted the progress we have made in many areas – including increased job-sharing at all levels, a reduction in Grade-9 gender pay gap, increased number of female professors, stronger female representation in the University Executive Board and our first female Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Parveen Yaqoob.

Our Self-Assessment Team (SAT), comprising volunteers from Schools and Functions, convened at the beginning of 2019. It was co-chaired, by Professor Simon Chandler-Wilde and Dr Karen Henderson, Director of Technical Services – demonstrating our increased focus on professional services colleagues in Athena SWAN at Silver level.

The SAT was supported by many academic and professional services colleagues across the University  who attended a number of focus groups – including those on Family Leave, Flexible Working and Bullying and Harassment. We would like to thank everyone who contributed their time and ideas to this.

We are also grateful to the many colleagues who contributed to surveys including those on Career Development and the Personal Titles process.

These focus groups and surveys provided extremely valuable insight and information and helped us shape an ambitious action plan. This includes a commitment to embedding Diversity and Inclusion across the new University strategy, work on guidance and promotion of flexible working, actions around family leave (including a doubling of the paid period of paternity leave from 2 to 4 weeks), a review of the PDR process, making public more data, for example ethnicity and intersectional pay gap data and further work to support our trans staff and students.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Parveen Yaqoob said, ““This is a fantastic achievement, which reflects a collective effort to embed the principles of equality, diversity and inclusion into every aspect of the University’s activities. I’m really proud of the progress we have made and look forward to supporting the action plan.”

Dr Allan Laville, our Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, said, “I am delighted that our University has been awarded a Silver Athena SWAN award. This is a recognition of the excellent gender equality work done by colleagues across our institution. We have made strong progress over the last three years are keen to continue building on this. Karen and I have already started planning our work on the Action Plan and will soon share the details of an implementation group to take this forward.”

Dr Karen Henderson said, “Our Athena SWAN Silver award would not have been possible without the contribution of hundreds of colleagues who gave us their time and their ideas. These colleagues and many others across the University work incredibly hard to make our institution a place where the opportunities for representation, progression and success are available to everyone.”

We are awaiting feedback from AdvanceHE on our application, and will share this along with our application and action plan on the Diversity and Inclusion webpages.


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