Women in science award for university department

Mary Youlden's picture
Authored by Mary Youlden
Posted Wednesday, June 27, 2018 - 9:57am

The Department of Sport and Health Sciences (St Luke’s Campus) has been awarded an Athena SWAN Silver Award, recognising its commitment to advancing the careers of women in science through addressing gender inequality, tackling unequal gender representation across the student and staff population and improving career progression for female academics.

Sport and Health Sciences is the first department from the College of Life and Environmental Sciences to be awarded Silver under the new ‘Post May 2015’ Athena SWAN criteria.

This offers a more robust framework for enhancing equality, with the criteria also being expanded to include Professional Services, as well as academic staff.

This achievement also demonstrates the success of the department’s action plan in making a measurable move towards equality, diversity and inclusivity.

Professor Dan Charman, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of the College of Life and Environmental Sciences, said: “Being awarded a Silver Athena SWAN award under the new more rigorous criteria is a fantastic achievement for Sport and Health Sciences, and reflects their constant and thoughtful approach to creating an inclusive culture and environment for all of their staff, students and stakeholders. We are very proud of the award and the standards it reflects.”

Dr Sharon Dixon, who led the application process, said: “The Athena SWAN initiative has provided the impetus for Sport and Health Sciences to evaluate the importance of factors such as our culture, the visibility of role models and the influence of unconscious bias in creating a positive working environment for all.

“We have worked hard to improve inclusivity across the department, with a team approach that involves embedding related actions in all our activity.

“Whilst this is a continuous process, we are proud of the commitment of all members of the department to developing an environment that is welcoming to all, and where all staff and students can achieve their potential.”

One area of activity has focused on widening awareness of sports science in younger audiences through the development of a book targeted at primary school children, authored by research fellow Lucy Gowing:

The award will be presented to a representative of the department at the ECU Athena SWAN awards ceremony later this year.

Sport and Health Sciences will continue to complete and work towards goals that help to embed positive values towards supporting underrepresented groups at University of Exeter.