Department of Chemistry

Department of Chemistry University of Oxford

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. 

It was awarded the Bronze Athena SWAN award in April 2012 and was delighted to be awarded the Silver Athena SWAN award in Sept 2015. The Athena SWAN agenda is managed by the Equality and Diversity Group, which incorporates males and females from all levels of students and staff within the Department.

The group meets regularly throughout the academic year and discusses issues affecting women and other minority groups within the Department, putting in place actions to address any perceived or actual inequality. 
Recent activities include:

  • Post-doctoral employees and DPhil students presenting regularly at lunchtime seminars.
  • Cross departmental mentoring scheme for post-doctoral employees
  • Second Annual Careers Conference held, exploring the academic and non-academic routes available to chemists and advice on how to apply successfully for academic and non-academic posts.
  • Personal Development Reviews for all employees, reviewing activity to date, setting objectives and training and support required for the future
  • Change in department seminar times to take into account those with caring responsibilities.
  • Improved communication through the Department Newsletter, intranet and display screens, as well as Twitter.
  • Extensive consultation with employees over administration structural change, and other initiatives.
  • Focus groups for new initiatives such as induction and probation.
  • Departmental social events including Christmas party, cricket matches, sports events, singing with the Chemistry Choir – the Keytones, and other ad hoc events throughout the year.

Work Life Balance 

The University offers additional support to all employees with parental or caring responsibilities to ensure that they are able to balance work and family life. This is reflected in the Department which aims to support flexible working where possible for all employees, and to encourage a more flexible work-life balance for all employees and students.

The Athena SWAN Charter

The Athena SWAN Charter recognises and celebrates good employment practice for women working in science, engineering and technology (SET) in higher education and research.
The beliefs underpinning the Charter are as follows:

  • The advancement of SET is fundamental to quality of life across the globe. 
  • It is vitally important that women are adequately represented in what has traditionally been, and is still, a male-dominated area. 
  • Science cannot reach its full potential unless it can benefit from the talents of the whole population, and until women and men can benefit equally from the opportunities it affords.