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Royal Holloway awarded for commitment to advancing women in science

Posted on 09/08/2010
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Royal Holloway, University of London has been awarded a Bronze Athena SWAN Charter, which recognises excellence in, and commitment to, the career progression of women in science, engineering and technology (SET) within Higher Education. The award will be presented at the Royal Society, London, on 16 September 2010.

This award demonstrates the College′s existing commitment to advancing women in SET and acknowledges the good practice that is taking place within the university. The Department of Physics at Royal Holloway has also recently been recognised by the Institute of Physics (IOP) for efforts made to reduce gender inequality among academic staff, becoming one of only three Physics departments across the UK to attain Project JUNO Practitioner status.

Commenting on the Charter, Professor Adam Tickell, Vice-Principal (Research, Enterprise and Communications) at Royal Holloway said: “I am delighted that Royal Holloway has been awarded this Bronze Athena SWAN Charter in recognition of our work to uphold and promote the principles of Athena for advancing the careers of women in SET. This maintains our long and unique tradition of recognising diversity, and we will continue to build on this momentum to bring about sustained positive change. I am really grateful to everyone who has worked so hard on this and particularly commend Barbara Davis, the Science Faculty Manager.”

In 2007, the Science Faculty established a Women in Science Working Group which has developed into a College-wide Steering Group overseeing all initiatives undertaken to redress the gender imbalance in SET departments. The work of this group has had far reaching impact, affecting both College policy and practices.

Initiatives currently underway include supporting the work of a Childcare Group driving actions needed to increase provision, a new mentoring scheme for female SET staff, a women in science network, a review of promotions criteria and the development of recommendations for action across a wide range of other areas, such as flexible working, equal pay, promotion, profile-raising and communication.

Professor Mary Fowler, Deputy Dean of Science and Chair of the Childcare Sub-Group of the HR and EO Committee, comments: "The Bronze Athena SWAN Charter Award to Royal Holloway is really significant. We have worked hard to identify the key issues, practices, policies and structures that stop, slow or hinder women's careers in SET. Much more importantly, the award now challenges us all to move steadily ahead in finding solutions that will really work to improve the careers of women. Above all, the award recognises the experiences, hard work and ideas of the women and men in the Science Faculty at Royal Holloway and their dedication to making the future better."

Professor Kathy Rastle, from the Department of Psychology, adds: “This is great news for science at Royal Holloway. This award provides a framework for us to work toward building an institution that attracts the very best women scientists, and that supports them in reaching their full potential.”

For more information about the Athena SWAN Charter, please visit: http://www.athenaswan.org.uk/html/athena-swan


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