The Department of Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London, has been awarded the Athena Silver SWAN Award from the Equality Challenge Unit, recognising exceptional commitment and excellence in the advancement of gender equality.
Launched in 2005, Athena SWAN (Scientific Women’s Academic Network) was originally aimed at advancing women’s progression in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM), and now has expanded criteria to cover all areas, from students through to academic, support and professional staff.
The award comes following the department’s rapid improvement on its proportion of female academic staff. Rising from 22% in 2012/13, to 41% in 2018, this increase has contributed to the appointment of female leads across all three of the department’s research groups.
Dean of Science at Royal Holloway, Professor José Fiadeiro commented: “I’d like to congratulate Geography on their achievements in promoting equality and diversity which have earned them the Athena SWAN silver award.
“I am delighted that there are now three silver awards as well as several bronze awards within the Sciences at Royal Holloway, including a recently renewed bronze award for Biological Sciences, demonstrating our commitment in this important area.”
Head of Geography, Professor Philip Crang added: “I am delighted at this recognition of our commitment to embed concerns for equality and diversity in all that we do.
“I particularly want to thank our equality and diversity committee, led by Dr Vandana Desai and Professor Harriet Hawkins, and my predecessor as Head of Department, Professor Katie Willis, for their leadership on these issues.
“As a community of students and staff, we all benefit tremendously from an environment of equality and is enriched by diverse experiences and voices.”
Geography is now one of three departments at Royal Holloway to hold a silver award, the other two being Psychology and Physics.