Welcome to Athena SWAN at the School of Clinical Medicine
The Athena SWAN awards recognise and celebrate good practice in recruiting, retaining and promoting women in SET within Higher Education. Awards are given to Universities and individual Departments or Schools. The University of Cambridge holds a Bronze award; and the School of Clinical Medicine was awarded Silver in April 2013.
The Athena Scientific Women’s Advisory Network (SWAN) Project was established in the late 1990s to try to advance and promote the careers of women in science, engineering and technology (SET) in higher education and research in the UK, and to achieve a significant increase in the number of women recruited to top posts. The need for this is great, given the significant career attrition among scientific women. Now embedded within the government’s Equality Challenge Unit in London, its Charter is a membership organisation to which many UK Universities, including Cambridge, belong.
Achieving an award became a priority for the School in 2011, when the Chief Medical Officer announced that the NIHR would only shortlist medical schools for Biomedical Research Centre and Unit funding if they had a Silver Athena SWAN award within five years.
Professor Fiona Karet led the steering group that produced the School’s award submission. Whilst much of the work has been to level the playing field and offer development opportunities for women, the aim is for changes to processes and practices, such as family-friendly policies, to have a positive effect on working culture and improve the intellectual environment for everyone.
The School’s Silver Award must be renewed in 2016, and to ensure this is achieved, an ambitious Action Plan has been put in place to deliver improvements in the way we support all staff, but particularly women at key points in their careers. Work is planned in the following areas:
- Recruitment Practices and Strategies
- Induction and Probation
- In-role Support: flexible working; career breaks; promotion; childcare
- Personal and Career Development: appraisal; mentoring
- Culture: core hours; visibility of senior women; gender balance on committees
- Institutional: School newsletter; Staff Survey; Equality Champions network
Equality Champions in Medicine
The Athena SWAN team
Professor Fiona Karet, Academic Lead, Athena SWAN Governance Group
Victoria Smallbone, Athena SWAN Co-ordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org Ext. 36804
If you have particular concerns that you think are not being addressed by the Athena SWAN initiative, please get in touch with one of the above, an Equality Champion, or a member of the Governance Group. You can find their names on the School’s Athena SWAN website: http://athena-swan.medschl.cam.ac.uk/
We would also like to hear about examples of good practice that you encounter, so we can spread the word and increase their impact and utility.