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Equity and Diversity

Equity and Diversity

The University values diversity and is committed to equality of opportunities.

The progress of the Physics department in championing good workplace practices that benefit all members of our physics community has been recognised by the Juno Champion award from the Institute of Physics, and the Athena SWAN silver award.

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The Physics Department has two active Women in Physics groups.

  • One group includes all the women in the department: undergraduate, postgraduate, researchers, professional services and academics at Royal Holloway, and runs two events per term for undergraduates.
  • The postgraduate and researchers group contains all the researchers and academics.  This group meets regularly for lunches.

Events have been running for over a decade, since the first WIP meeting on 25 March 2009. Initiatives are organised by Dr Tracey Berry (email tracey.berry@rhul.ac.uk) and Professor Veronique Boisvert (email Veronique.Boisvert@rhul.ac.uk). Each undergraduate year group has student representatives, so let us know if you want to get involved!

Events include:

  • Welcome to the Department and meet other physicists
  • Opportunities to find out about experiences of student’s summer placements
  • Coffee to discuss plans to pursue PhDs
  • Celebration of International Women's Day meeting
  • Discussions of Research Opportunities within the Department and elsewhere
  • Talks by alumni on their careers and career paths
  • Raising awareness of IOP Project Juno, Athena Swan, Women in Physics and why we chose to study physics

Did you know that just 20% of new physics graduates nationally and less than 5% of professors are women? We hope to help address the under-representation of women in physics by supporting Project Juno, which is an Institute of Physics initiative. 

Project Juno sets out practical ideas for actions that departments can take to achieve equal opportunities in physics at university while emphasising the need for dialogue, transparency and openness. It encourages better practice for everyone through six key principles (implemented through a code of practice). 

Becoming involved in this initiative enables departments to work towards developing an equitable working culture in which all students and staff, regardless of gender, can achieve their full potential.

Royal Holloway is taking a leading role in Project Juno as our department is just one of six to have been awarded Juno Champion status. Currently, 32 university physics departments in the UK are involved in the initiative.

Code of Practice and levels of engagement

There are three levels of engagement with the Code of Practice – Supporter, Practitioner and Champion. As a Champion, we have been assessed as endorsing, practising and meeting the six principles set out in the Code. For further information go to the IOP Project Juno webpage.

Our support

At Royal Holloway, the physics department has mutual support groups:

• Student Physics Society.

• Postgraduate Forum.

• Research Staff Forum.

• Women In Physics Group for all female staff and students in the Department.

• Women In Physics Research and Academic Staff: who have monthly lunches.

We also host inclusive social events to further Project Juno including:

• Weekly Departmental Tea/Coffee and cakes.

• Annual Celebrate Success End of Year Event.

• Summer BBQ for all.

• Annual Staff vs Student Baseball Game.

The Athena Swan Charter is a framework which is used across the globe to support and transform gender equality within higher education and research. Established in 2005 to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment, the Charter is now being used worldwide to address gender equality more broadly, and not just barriers to progression that affect women.

The award has 3 levels: Bronze, Silver and Gold.

The RHUL Physics Department successfully applied for and was awarded a departmental Athena Swan Silver award in 2012 in recognition of their gender equality efforts. This award was successfully renewed in 2015 and 2018.

Physics were the first Department in RHUL College to achieve an Athena Swan Silver award. We were one of the first five Physics Departments in the UK to achieve an Athena Swan Silver award; to date, there is still only one Physics Departments in the UK to achieve an Athena Swan Gold award.

 

 

We have been recognized by the Institute of Physics for our actions to address the under-representation of women in Physics. We are developing an equitable working culture in which all students and staff of all genders can achieve their full potential by:

  • Monitoring career progression in the Department
  • Support in career progression
  • Improved communication via
    • Inclusive Departments Events
    • 11am Friday Tea/Coffee + Cakes
    • Annual Celebrate Success Event
    • Staff handbook
  • Transparent workload allocation
  • Mutual Support Groups at all levels:
    • Research Staff Forum
    • Postgraduate Forum
    • Women in Physics
  • Consideration in Caring Responsibilities:
    • Flexible working
    • Core working hours: 10am - 4pm
    • Parental leave promoted and supported

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