The University of Southampton

Physics and Astronomy receives Athena SWAN Silver Award

Published: 8 May 2018
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The Athena SWAN Silver Award recognises Physics and Astronomy's commitment to tackling gender inequality

Physics and Astronomy at the University of Southampton has been recognised for its commitment to tackling gender inequality with an Athena SWAN Silver Award.

The accolade builds upon Bronze Award status granted in 2015, reflecting a continued drive to improve the life and culture of all people in the department.

An applied set of core values, improved recruitment processes and positive public engagement and outreach are among the practices that helped Physics and Astronomy achieve its elevated status. The department also boasts a highly active Women’s Physics Network, which was recognised for its ‘exceptional contribution’ with a Vice-Chancellor’s Award in 2017.

Professor Jonathan Flynn, Head of Physics and Astronomy, says, “We are delighted to receive an Athena SWAN Silver Award which endorses our department's commitment to diversity and equality and to providing a positive environment for working and learning. The award recognises our achievements so far and our action plan to build on them.”

The University of Southampton is a founding signatory of the Athena SWAN Charter and holds a cross-institution silver-level award. As a signatory, it recognises the specific challenges that affect men and women in academic careers, which leads to inequality at senior levels of higher education. It is committed to addressing these issues, to maximise the potential of all its people.

In Physics and Astronomy, the silver award submission demonstrated how good practice was being implemented for everyone in the department, from undergraduate and postgraduate students through to all job families and levels. For example, the department has invested in a baby-changing and nursing room and tackled gender stereotyping in schools through its outreach programme.

The department’s Athena SWAN Silver Award will be valid until November 2021, when it will look to submit an application for a Gold Award.

Physics and Astronomy at Southampton was also awarded Project Juno Practitioner status in 2017. The Institute of Physics scheme recognises departments that have taken action to address the under-representation of women in university physics, encouraging better practice for both women and men. Physics and Astronomy endorses the five Project Juno Principles and will submit an application for Champion status later this year.

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