Athena SWAN Charter holds talks at BU

Posted on Wednesday, June 25 2014

The Athena SWAN Charter commenced a series of talks at BU last week.

The charter is dedicated to improving recognition for women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Medicine and Mathematics (STEMM) academia.

Guest speakers included members from Queen’s University in Belfast, with the discussion covering key topics that are high on the list of the Athena SWAN agenda.

Hosted by Vice Chancellor Professor John Vinney, among the many issues debated was the notion of ‘unconscious bias’ and gender inequality.

Equal Opportunities Officer for Queen’s University, Jane Garvey, gave some background as to the visit from Queen’s to BU.

“Queen’s have been involved with Athena SWAN since its conception and we were invited by Bournemouth University to share our experience.

“Bournemouth is off to a good start with the application for the Athena Bronze Award, and that sets a foundation for a potentially successful journey.”

The second guest speaker was the Director of the Queen’s Gender Initiative, Professor Teresa McCormack.

Professor McCormack, who has chaired the SWAN Champions group of representatives from academic schools in Queen’s, is also known for her work with the Athena SWAN awards, promoting gender equality in the sciences and engineering.

Professor McCormack gave her take on what the Athena SWAN Initiative is hoping to achieve.

“I think that the whole ethos that surrounds the Athena Swan process is one that does not want to discriminate against men or devalue their contribution in anyway.

“It’s about making a fair workplace for everybody. We know that there are balances that need to be addressed at the senior levels of management in academia, but a lot of our work actually focuses on creating an equal working environment for both men and women to thrive in.”

BU started the journey to Athena SWAN accreditation in December 2012 and has now completed the application for a Bronze Award.

More details about BU’s work with Athena SWAN