November 28th, 2023
The University of Nottingham has become the first university in the country to be awarded the coveted Athena Swan Institutional Gold award for its commitment to advance gender equality across higher education and research.
As an institution, the university was one of the first to join the Charter and was awarded an Athena Swan Institutional Bronze Award in 2006, an Institutional Silver Award in 2012 and the Institutional Silver Renewal in 2017.
Individual university departments have successfully gained gold level awards in previous years, but this is the first time that an institutional gold award has been achieved by a university since the Athena Swan programme was launched in 2005.
The university has been steadily working towards this accreditation, with twenty-one of our twenty-two Schools currently holding Bronze, Silver or Gold Athena Swan awards, and our Faculty of Engineering becoming the first in the country to gain a Gold award for its sector-leading work in gender equality.
Katherine Linehan, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and People, said: “I am incredibly proud that the university has achieved an institutional gold award.
“Doing so requires an organisation to demonstrate progress with regard to gender equality over a sustained period and evidence of influence and the support of others through beacon activities.
“This has taken a huge effort from many people, often women, at the university over the past 18 years and this award is a sector and public acknowledgement of the impact of their work. “
To achieve institutional Gold, the independent review panel said the university demonstrated strong evidence of success in promoting and improving gender equality institution-wide.
This includes our sector-wide work on visibility and gender equality for technical staff, such as the Technician Commitment, for which Director of Technical Skills and Strategy Kelly Vere was awarded an MBE in 2022 – as well as the variety of impactful and valuable projects at the university that work to break down barriers and promote equality.
Another example of this is the current leading work taking place across Nottinghamshire to diversify the workforce in all anchor employers in the region. Building on research by two of our academic colleagues in the Centre for Applied Linguistics, our HR teams have created an inclusive recruitment toolkit that has now been adopted as good practice by several organisations in the region, including the City Council and NHS.
The application for institutional Gold was written by a team spearheaded by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor Katherine Linehan and AS lead at the university Tamsin Majerus alongside Katie Severn, Jess Tyson and Steven Mcnamara. This was underpinned by invaluable input from the Institutional Self-Assessment Team and the AS Data Champions.
Alison Johns, Chief Executive of Advance HE, said, “I am delighted to announce that the University of Nottingham is the first university in the UK to achieve Athena Swan Gold.
“The Gold Award recognises the quality and impact of equality, diversity and inclusion achievements not only within the university, but also the leadership and support that the University of Nottingham has provided both inside and outside of the sector to help raise the bar in gender equity practice.
“To receive an institutional Gold Award is a massive achievement and recognises the dedication and commitment of so many who have worked unstintingly to deliver on gender equality across the whole institution. Our congratulations go to Vice-Chancellor Professor Shearer West, her team, and all colleagues at the University of Nottingham on this prestigious award.”
Find out more about the university’s commitment to Athena Swan on our Webpages.
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