Athena SWAN in the Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport

Athena SWAN is a charter established in 2005 by the Equality Challenge Unit. It was originally set up to advance the representation of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM). In 2015 the charter was expanded to include staff in academic, professional and support roles, students and broaden the substantive areas to include arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law. The focus of the charter has expanded to address gender equality more broadly, not just barriers that affect women. It has also seen the inclusion of intersectionality – which recognises that people can face discrimination based on different elements of their identity (e.g., age, (dis)ability, race, religion and sexuality).

Jayne Donaldson

"I became closely involved in Athena Swan on joining the University of Stirling in 2014 and I firmly believe that providing opportunity for women and men to achieve their full potential is an essential responsibility of every academic employer. I personally have benefited enormously from support, mentoring, and encouragement from senior women within Health Sciences.  I have a teenage daughter within the school system in Scotland, I am struck by the need to encourage ambition, attainment and achievement in young people's lives, and providing equal opportunity to do this.

Athena SWAN is an integral part of what we do, being incorporated into the Faculty plan, University plan, and research strategy for REF return in 2021. Equality, diversity and inclusion are part of our working routines and practices, embedded deeply within the faculty team, with actions ongoing and continuous; we have increased the proportion of women and/or those with other protected characteristics, such as caring responsibilities, applying for and successfully achieving promotion, and the number of professors who are women. We ensure gender balance in our membership of Faculty promotions panels, research leave panels, and interview panels.

Athena SWAN is featured heavily within marketing material and other internal (e.g. newsletter, Faculty Assembly) and external (e.g. website, Twitter) materials. I have committed financial and other resources to Athena SWAN plans with a continued commitment to this."

Professor Jayne Donaldson, Dean of Faculty Health Sciences and Sport

Improving gender equality

The Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport currently holds a Bronze Athena SWAN award (2019-2022). As part of our application we have to demonstrate the work we are doing to improve gender equality and propose new actions to improve the experiences of staff and students in our Faculty. In the staff work package, we have acted to improve the overall culture of the Faculty and specific processes, such as induction, achieving success, mentoring and development programmes with a focus on gender equality and inclusion. 

We have also focused on student wellbeing and experience. As part of our current actions we are: holding equality drop-in sessions for undergraduate and postgraduate students, embedding equality as part of the student-staff consultative committees and will run a student survey in January/February 2022.

How we promote the AthenaSWAN charter

The Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport supports the goals of the AthenaSWAN charter through five different work packages, which aim to address specific workplace culture and processes.

Work package 1 - Students:

  • Monitor gender and numbers on our programmes as well as numbers of those coming from foundation/access courses into Nursing and Sport.
  • Collect and monitor student awareness, knowledge about gender equality issues, identify understanding and engagement with gender quality and identify key issues for students.
  • Incorporate AthenaSWAN throughout UG and PGT and offer drop ins each semester for all students
  • Embed Equality as standing item on Student-Staff Feedback Committee (SSFC).

Work package 2 - Staff:

  • Monitor induction of new academic and professional service staff member.
  • Discuss improvement in Achieving Success.
  • Monitor career development support for recent appointment of ECR females.
  • Collect information from academic and professional staff regarding faculty culture (including gender and other protected characteristics equality)

Work package 3 - Family-related leave:

  • Increase support for those returning from maternity, paternity, shared parenting or carers
  • Improve communication of policies/procedures for taking/returning from maternity, paternity, shared parenting or carers leave (e.g. via staff handbook)

Work package 4 - Flexible working:

  • Monitor uptake and availability of flexible leave for staff
  • Clear communication of flexible leave procedures and contexts in staff handbook

Work package 5 - Organisation and culture:

  • Review and encourage membership at Athena SWAN SAT team.
  • Monitor drop-in sessions for staff and students.
  • Meet and inform the dean regularly about comments and progress to improve equality, diversity and inclusion in the Faculty.

More information for staff and students

Current students and members of staff can find out more about our AthenaSWAN programme and contact the team by visiting our dedicated SharePoint site

Contact us


Claudio Rocha

Chair, Athena SWAN
Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport

01786 466388


Erica Gadsby

Deputy Chair, Athena SWAN
Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport