The Department of Chemistry is committed to addressing gender inequalities, to tackling the unequal representation of women in science
and to improving career progression for female academics.
August 2012 - I am delighted to announce that the Department has been awarded Athena SWAN Bronze status. This award recognizes the Department's commitment to addressing gender inequalities, to tackling the unequal representation of women in science, and to improving career progression for female academics.
The national panel in making this award, recognised the honest appraisal and frankness of our submission, and also noted that the department was at an early stage of its approach to addressing these issues. The last point highlights that this is just the beginning, not the end of a process. We now need to continue with the implementation of the all-important Action Plan, recognising that many aspects of it will be challenging and require considerable further consultation and consideration. I hope that everyone will support the work of the Athena Swan working group as they work on the details of implementation.
Professor Tim Softley
Chairman of Chemistry
The Athena SWAN Charter recognises and celebrates good employment practice for women working in science, engineering and technology (SET) in higher education and research.
Athena SWAN is a project for the advancement and promotion of the careers of women in science, engineering and technology in higher education and research, and to achieve a significant increase in the number of women recruited to top posts.
Athena SWAN is run by the Equality Challenge Unit, which is a registered charity, funded by grants from the UK higher education sector funding bodies, with contributions from Universities UK and GuildHE.
2011 Report Measuring success 2011 (PDF)
Department of Chemistry selected staff profiles
'Athena SWAN application' 'Working Group profiles'
OxFEST is an Oxford based society for women who are studying Engineering, Science and Technology.
Support for families and carers
The University aims to support all employees with parental or caring responsibilities to ensure that they are able to balance work and family life.
The UAS website provides a hub of information for all parents and carers, with links to university policies, procedures and guidance, as well as details of the facilities and benefits offered to mothers, fathers and guardians of children.
These UAS website pages are intended to signpost readers to university policies, as well as external sources of guidance.
Men also benefit
The introduction of Athena SWAN polices have a positive effect for male staff too. As part of the current initiative we will be reviewing our working practices to make sure that all staff and students are well supported in their work and study.
Athena SWAN initiative
Two initial meetings were held in September 2011 involving students and staff to decide how to match the Department against the Athena SWAN standard. As a result a smaller Athena Working Group was established to take forward an application for an Athena SWAN award. More info.
Action taken so far:
- Opinion Surveys have been carried out for Staff, DPhil and Undergraduate students (Jan & Feb 2012).
- Focus groups have been held on the career support given to post doc research staff.
- An Athena SWAN action plan has been prepared and will be widely disseminated throughout the Department.
- A Women In Chemistry Knowledge Exchange Date (W.I.C.K.E.D) network has been established organising meetings on various topics of interest to staff and students in the Department
- A W.I.C.K.E.D. Facebook group has been established.
- An application was successfully submitted to the Athena SWAN for a bronze award in April 2012.
- Work on the Action Plan is now underway
- The Department is actively progressing an ambitious action plan to improve the environment for all of those working and studying in the Department. This process is seen as a major driver for organisational change that will improve communication and decision–making, enhance career development processes, and provide support to those who are trying to achieve a good work and home life balance.