Athena SWAN

Athena SWAN bronze award

Congratulations to the Faculty of English and the Faculty of Music, who both received their Athena SWAN Bronze award in the November 2019 submission round. 

Athena SWAN: an overview

Advance HE’s Athena SWAN Charter was established in 2005 to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment in higher education and research.

In May 2015 the charter was expanded to recognise work undertaken in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL), and in professional and support roles, and for trans staff and students. The charter now recognises work undertaken to address gender equality more broadly, and not just barriers to progression that affect women.

Advance HE’s Athena SWAN Charter covers women (as well as men, trans and non-binary people where appropriate) in the following contexts:

  • academic roles in STEMM and AHSSBL
  • professional and support staff
  • trans staff and students

In relation to their:

  • representation
  • progression of students into academia
  • journey through career milestones
  • working environment for all staff

Athena SWAN in the Humanities

The University of Oxford is currently a Bronze award holder, and the Athena SWAN work in the Humanities Division reflects institutional aims, but also supports faculties that are applying for an award.


The following Humanities faculties are in the process of applying for their first Athena SWAN Bronze award:

  • The Faculty of English BRONZE AWARD HOLDER
  • The Faculty of History BRONZE AWARD HOLDER
  • The Faculty of Music BRONZE AWARD HOLDER
  • The Faculty of Linguistics, Philology and Phonetics
  • The Faculty of Classics

If you have any questions about Athena SWAN, or, as a member of staff or a student in a faculty, you would like to know more and get involved, please contact the Humanities Division's Equality and Diversity Officer, Isabelle Pitt. Need documents? We have a dedicated SharePoint page with advice, guidelines and support.

Athena SWAN principles

The Athena SWAN principles that institutions must adopt within their policies, practices, action plans and culture include the following:

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 relative underrepresentation of women in senior roles in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL)
  • 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 trans 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.