Athena Swan

What is Athena SWAN

The Athena SWAN Charter is an evaluation and accreditation program. Established in the UK in 2005 the Charter is a response to serious under-representation of women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Medicine (STEMM). It has had tremendous success in enhancing gender equity for STEMM disciplines. The charity Equality Challenge Unit manages this program. This framework is based on ten principles of the Athena SWAN Charter.

Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) Pilot Project

The Australian Academy of Science established the SAGE initiative in 2014. Their role is to explore options for advancing gender equity in Australian STEMM disciplines. The key driver to establish SAGE was the fact that in 2013, not one woman was elected to the Academy Fellowship. At the 2014 SAGE Forum it was proposed that a Pilot of Athena SWAN be undertaken in Australian.

40 universities, medical research institutes and publicly funded research agencies have chosen to participate in the SAGE Pilot. Participants will collect, analyse and present data on gender equity policies and practices in STEMM departments. They will also identify gaps and opportunities for improvement. Participants will work towards an Athena SWAN Award at the Institutional Bronze level. This is a mandatory requirement for future Silver and Gold awards. The submission will undergo peer-review and will be valid for four years.

The ten principles of the Athena SWAN Charter

  1. We acknowledge that academia cannot reach its full potential unless it can benefit from the talents of all.
  2. We commit to advancing gender equality in academia, in particular addressing the loss of women across the career pipeline and the absence of women from senior academic, professional and support roles.
  3. We commit to addressing unequal gender representation across academic disciplines and professional and support functions. In this we recognise disciplinary differences including
    • the particularly high loss rate of women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM).
  4. We commit to tackling the gender pay gap.
  5. We commit to removing the obstacles faced by women, in particular, at major points of career development and progression including the transition from PhD into a sustainable academic career.
  6. We commit to addressing the negative consequences of using short-term contracts for the retention and progression of staff in academia, particularly women.
  7. We commit to tackling the discriminatory treatment often experienced by transgender people.
  8. We acknowledge that advancing gender equality demands commitment and action from all levels of the organisation and in particular active leadership from those in senior roles.
  9. We commit to making and mainstreaming sustainable structural and cultural changes to advance gender equality, recognising that initiatives and actions that support individuals alone will not sufficiently advance equality.
  10. All individuals have identities shaped by several different factors. We commit to considering the intersection of gender and other factors wherever possible.