The School of Healthcare has been a member of the Athena SWAN Charter since 2012 and we are committed to its key principles to improve gender equality. As a research intensive organisation and one of the few large programmes of nursing in a Russell Group University, we face a number of major intersectional challenges which underpin our strategy going forward. We recruit small numbers of men to undergraduate health programmes, a national problem and one in which School staff are leading on national solutions. We have a leaky pipeline in terms of female academic career development from junior grades to more senior roles. We are working to improve student experience by recruiting student champions to promote intersectional gender equality. We have worked with key stakeholders to put together an action plan based on our key priorities.
A message from the Head of School, Dr Angela Graves
I confirm my wholehearted, unequivocal support and commitment to the principles of the Athena Swan Charter and to support and deliver the plans presented by the Athena Swan Silver Award renewal application. We are proud of our sector-leading innovation and creativity and the breadth of approaches to supporting colleagues and students. Our future aspiration being to apply for Athena Swan Gold Award.
Whilst we endeavoured to realise our goals in our Silver Plan, from early 2020 much of our focus deployed onto mobilising a workforce to support care delivery in a time of national crisis. Staff and students rallied to this unprecedented need, but this was not without cost. Colleagues were challenged with balancing workload with family and caring commitments, home schooling, ill health, financial pressures and, in some cases, bereavement; it is recognised there was a gendered impact here and we value care and domestic responsibility.
The School has made some significant progress against the highest priorities within our action plan since 2017. These include:
• Increasing the engagement between staff and students through our Student Staff Partnership Forum and the appointment of our Academic Lead for Diversity & Inclusion
• Increasing the number of women on Clinical Academic Fellowships from 0 to 6 and with NHS partners and the National Institute for Health and Social Care Research (NIHR), developing sustainable clinical academic careers
• Doubling the number of colleagues applying for promotion and increasing the success rate of women from 50% (2 out of 4) to 92% (11 out of 12)
• Our women Professional, Technical and Operational (PTO*) staff feeling a significantly greater sense of being valued colleagues, as evidenced by our staff surveys
• Strengthening our Athena Swan infrastructure, and investing in roles to facilitate delivery of the action plan
As a leadership team our actions will focus on promoting empowerment of women and application for promotion, opportunities for PTO* staff development and addressing workload and impact on progression.