The University of Southampton

Electronics and Computer Science advances gender equality through Athena SWAN Bronze Award

Published: 3 June 2020
VC Awards: The ECS team behind the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia were finalists in the Vice-Chancellor's Awards 2019

Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) at the University of Southampton has been recognised for its commitment to equality and diversity with an Athena SWAN Bronze Award.

The Bronze Award reflects a continuing drive to improve the life and culture of all people in the school.

In the last three years ECS has been working hard to embed the principles of the Athena SWAN Charter across student recruitment and progression, staff appointments and promotion, staff development, and the work environment.

New initiatives have included mentoring and professional development programmes led by Professor Neil White and a monthly Forum for Women called The Campbell Group. Wellbeing Champions Professor mc schraefel and Dr Michael Ng have held numerous workshops including Tai-Chi sessions.

The school’s annual celebrations for the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOBIT) were recognised in 2019 as a finalist in the University’s Vice-Chancellor’s Awards. This spring, the event was hosted online and included a movie club, quiz and an art workshop.

Professor Paul Lewin, Head of ECS, says: “We are delighted to receive an Athena SWAN Bronze Award which endorses our school's commitment to diversity and equality. It is very clear that women are under-represented in our sector, so creating an environment in which all staff and students have equal opportunities has been foremost in our decision-making in recent years.

“There is still much to do, and we are now focusing on completing our Action Plan in the coming months to ensure that we turn our Athena SWAN success into lasting change to make ECS fairer and better for all.”

ECS has greatly increased its activities to encourage young women to consider studying computer science and electronics. Its outreach team has made a significant effort to engage with female-only schools and colleges, with Outreach Officer Dr Reena Pau being recognised in each of the University’s Women in Science, Engineering and Technology Plus (WiSET+) and Vice-Chancellor’s Awards schemes.

The University of Southampton is a founding signatory of the Athena SWAN Charter and holds a cross-institution silver-level award. As a signatory, it recognises the specific challenges that affect men and women in academic careers, which leads to inequality at senior levels of higher education. It is committed to addressing these issues, to maximise the potential of all its people.

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