Welcome to Athena SWAN at the School of Clinical Medicine
The Athena SWAN Charter is based on ten key principles. By being part of Athena SWAN, we are committing to a progressive charter; adopting these principles within our policies, practices, action plans and culture.
- We acknowledge that academia cannot reach its full potential unless it can benefit from the talents of all.
- We commit to advancing gender equality in academia, in particular, addressing the loss of women across the career pipeline and the absence of women from senior academic, professional and support roles.
- We commit to addressing unequal gender representation across academic disciplines and professional and support functions. In this we recognise disciplinary differences including:
- the relative underrepresentation of women in senior roles in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL)
- the particularly high loss rate of women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM)
- We commit to tackling the gender pay gap.
- We commit to removing the obstacles faced by women, in particular, at major points of career development and progression including the transition from PhD into a sustainable academic career.
- We commit to addressing the negative consequences of using short-term contracts for the retention and progression of staff in academia, particularly women.
- We commit to tackling the discriminatory treatment often experienced by trans people.
- We acknowledge that advancing gender equality demands commitment and action from all levels of the organisation and in particular active leadership from those in senior roles.
- We commit to making and mainstreaming sustainable structural and cultural changes to advance gender equality, recognising that initiatives and actions that support individuals alone will not sufficiently advance equality.
- All individuals have identities shaped by several different factors. We commit to considering the intersection of gender and other factors wherever possible.
In 2012, and again in 2015, the Clinical School undertook a full staff survey. Following this, focus groups have met to to address some of the issues raised and a number of initiatives have been put in place to improve the working environment of the School.
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 2013 and again in April 2016.
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 was renewed in 2016. The award outlined an ambitious Action Plan 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
Nakita Gilbert 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.