Computer Science department receives Athena SWAN Award

Posted on 27/09/2013

An Athena SWAN Bronze award has been given to the Computer Science department at Royal Holloway in recognition of their commitment to supporting the careers of women in science – they are now only one of seven Computer Science departments in the country to have this award.

The department received the award after a team led by Professor Elizabeth Scott put together a submission to the April 2013 award round, which was the biggest Athena SWAN has ever had with 112 award submissions and 17 panels.

Professor José Fiadeiro, Head of the Computer Science department, commented on the department’s work in this area: “Although the first programmer ever was a woman – Ada Lovelace – and several women are now in very senior positions in academia or industry, the gender gap in Computer Science is still a worldwide concern, especially in the more advanced economies. 

“We have an ambitious action plan to address this gap at Royal Holloway and increase the participation of women in Computer Science at all levels, from undergraduate students to the highest academic roles.”

Following this award, Royal Holloway now has four departmental awards: the Earth Sciences department holds a Bronze award while Physics and Psychology have been awarded the Silver level award. Physics also have Project Juno Champion status from the Institute of Physics.

The Athena SWAN Awards recognise success in developing employment practices to further and support the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) departments in higher education.

In 2007, we set up a Women in Science Working Group, before signing up to principles in the Athena SWAN Charter in November 2009. In July 2010, Royal Holloway was awarded institutional Bronze status.

As a result, each department in the Faculty of Science has one member of academic staff designated as an “Athena Champion”. These champions take a lead in promoting the principles of the Athena SWAN Charter within their department/school and developing bids for Athena SWAN status.

Royal Holloway has a long and distinguished tradition in the education of women and is proud to be supporting this vital work.

Royal Holloway, University of London logo