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Athena Swan Awards

Tuesday 08 May 2018

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The University is proud to confirm that our Institutional Athena SWAN Bronze Award has been renewed for a further three years, and that the Schools of Biology and Psychology and Neuroscience have achieved Athena SWAN Silver Awards.

The Athena SWAN Charter awards, announced today (Monday 7 May), recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment in higher education and research.

In a message to staff, St Andrews Principal Professor Sally Mapstone said:

“My warmest thanks and congratulations go to all of you who continue to work so hard with us to develop an inclusive culture that values all staff and eliminates gender bias.

“In addition to the institutional Bronze Award, St Andrews now has four Schools with individual Silver Awards.

“St Andrews has made important progress in equality in the last few years, for example through: sponsoring 25 future female leaders on the Aurora programme; gaining Carer Positive Employer status; and achieving and renewing LGBT charter recognition (the only Scottish HEI to have that recognition).

“Our progress is now becoming more rapid, and in the last 18 months we have taken some important steps. Importantly, core meeting hours have been implemented, a university nursery has been established and we have piloted on-site crèche facilities for training events – all of which help those with caring responsibilities to be fully included. In addition, mandatory workload model principles have been implemented to ensure fairness in service commitments, including commitments to Athena SWAN – enabling all Schools to be engaged.

“We have revised our promotion process to provide better recognition of teaching, impact and service, to the advantage of women leading in these areas, including our first professor (a woman) promoted on the basis of teaching.

athena-swan-mainbody“We are also determined to see more women coming forward for promotion, more rapidly. A new in-house mentoring programme for academic senior women, the Elizabeth Garrett programme, has been launched as a pilot, and we will look to learn from this and broaden it out as best makes sense institutionally.

“However, there is much more we can, and ought, to do to help all of our staff – regardless of gender, orientation, race or personal circumstance – both to contribute to, and benefit from, our pursuit of excellence. To that end, we have established a Gender Diversity and Inclusion research fund which has so far stimulated 14 projects across the sciences, social sciences and humanities. I write to you on the day on which we are also holding our first conference associated with the fund’s research.

“You will be aware that the issue of gender pay inequality has been receiving a great deal of attention in public of late, as a consequence of the UK Government’s decision to require all employers with a workforce greater than 250 to publish this spring their gender pay gap data.

“In Scotland, our universities are exempt from this requirement until 2019. For St Andrews, I don’t believe that is good enough.

“That is why we are preparing a comprehensive pack of data and information on our gender pay gap, building on the information we have already published, to allow meaningful comparison with other institutions, companies and organisations.

“We will publish this information as soon as possible so that as a whole our community can see where challenge and unfairness may persist, and as a community we can debate how we think it can be effectively addressed.

“We require continued culture change, and that can only happen with debate about the factors that have led us to where we are. That may be uncomfortable for some, but I am determined that this issue should be in the open in St Andrews, and that we develop a sense of common purpose and hope about the future.

“Promoting inclusivity and fairness is my highest priority and I am confident that across our community academics, professional services staff and students working together are equally committed.

“I believe that the green shoots of culture change are now visible throughout our institution and that it is the better for it. Please help us do still more.”


Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office: contactable on 01334 46 2530 or proffice@st-andrews.ac.uk.