The University of Southampton

Tackling gender inequality in science

Published: 16 September 2013

In Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) our commitment to tackling the problem of gender inequality in science has been strongly maintained since we were awarded the Athena SWAN Bronze.

The Award recognises commitment in the higher education sector to addressing gender inequalities, tackling the unequal representation of women in science and improving career progression for female academics.

The national award reflects the work ECS has done to encourage women into an area that has historically been dominated by males.

In recent years ECS has promoted diversity across its courses and staff, and has set up a Diversity Committee to encourage a supportive and inclusive environment for work and study.

ECS Women was started by students to support women across all levels from undergraduates to researchers. The group takes an active part in conferences promoting females in science and organises events to improve graduates’ employability.

“Since we received the Bronze Award we have been working on ways in which we can further encourage women into the areas of Electronics and Computer Science,” said Professor Michael Butler, Chair of the ECS Athena SWAN Team.

“We appreciate that gaining the Award was only the start and we still have a long way to go. We have already started working on many of the action points we identified to continue our efforts in tackling this problem. We are also working with our colleagues across the University to share our experiences and work together to encourage more women into science.”

Among the key areas ECS has been focusing on since winning the Award are:

• encouraging more female students without standard A-Levels to enter our Foundation programme • encouraging more females to enrol on courses • expanding our outreach activities to encourage more girls to consider Electronics and Computer Science in higher education • increasing recruitment of female academic staff • gaining a better understanding of why many female postgraduates are not applying for research posts and why many Research Fellows are not applying for academic positions • supporting flexible working and family-friendly policies such as career breaks, parental leave and flexible working • supporting career development for women • providing diversity training for all staff

The University of Southampton has held the Athena SWAN Bronze Award since 2006. Find out more about the University of Southampton’s Athena SWAN activities here.

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