Athena SWAN Bronze University Award

Queen Margaret University (QMU) currently holds a Bronze Institutional Athena SWAN Award, and we are working towards an application for its renewal in January 2024. QMU was first awarded a Bronze Institutional Award in 2013, which was successfully renewed in 2017.

The Athena SWAN Charter is a framework which is used across the globe to support and transform gender equality within Higher Education and Research. The Charter supports institutions to undertake an assessment of their context, identify priority issues, and design and implement actions to advance gender equality autonomously and flexibly.

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 has since expanded to address gender equality more broadly, and now includes all disciplines, and professional staff, and seeks to address the inclusion of trans people and the underrepresentation of men where appropriate.

Read our successful application for a Bronze Renewal Award in 2017

Since QMU's last application in 2017, the UK Athena Swan Charter has been through a transformation based on recommendations from an Independent Review and consultation with the sector, including through its Athena Swan Governance Committee. The transformed charter introduced a number of changes to the Athena SWAN framework, including an update to the commitments that underpin Athena Swan and set out shared goals for gender equality that all participants agree to support.

QMU has considered and committed to the new Charter Principles and is planning to submit our first transformed charter application in January 2024. In committing to the principles of the Athena Swan Charter, we recognise that we join a global community with a shared goal of addressing gender inequalities and embedding inclusive cultures.

Each institution, research institute and department has different gender equality challenges and development priorities. These priorities should be developed based on an understanding of the local evidence-base and national and global gender equality issues.

In determining our priorities and interventions, we commit to:

  1. adopting robust, transparent and accountable processes for gender equality work, including:
    1. embedding diversity, equity and inclusion in our culture, decision-making and partnerships, and holding ourselves and others in our institution/institute/department accountable.
    2. undertaking evidence-based, transparent self-assessment processes to direct our priorities and interventions for gender equality, and evaluating our progress to inform our continuous development.
    3. ensuring that gender equality work is distributed appropriately, is recognised and properly rewarded.
  2. addressing structural inequalities and social injustices that manifest as differential experiences and outcomes for staff and students.
  3. tackling behaviours and cultures that detract from the safety and collegiality of our work and study environments, including not tolerating gender-based violence, discrimination, bullying, harassment or exploitation.
  4. understanding and addressing intersectional inequalities.
  5. recognising that individuals can determine their own gender identity, and tackling the specific issues faced by trans and non-binary people.
  6. examining gendered occupational segregation, and elevating the status, voice and career opportunities of any identified under-valued and at-risk groups.
  7. mitigating the gendered impact of caring responsibilities and career breaks, and supporting flexibility and the maintenance of a healthy ‘whole life balance’.
  8. mitigating the gendered impact of short-term and casual contracts for staff seeking sustainable careers.