Athena Swan: Advancing the careers of women in science

‌The Athena SWAN initiative is a national charter developed by the Equality Challenge Unit. Athena SWAN recognises and promotes good practice in gender equality. Athena SWAN originally covered STEMM subjects only (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine). In May 2015, the University of Stirling signed up to the expanded charter, which now includes Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences, Business and Law. The expanded charter also recognises work undertaken with regards to professional and support roles, trans staff and students.

Stirling has been part of the charter since 2011. We were awarded the Athena SWAN Bronze award in September 2013. The award follows rigorous examination of equality and diversity information relating to our academic activities and the creation of a robust action plan with clear accountability to promote gender equality.

View our Athena Swan Submission and Action Plan

The Institutional Athena SWAN Group (IASG) is responsible for the institutional Athena SWAN submission and action plan. The panel is comprised of academic and administrative staff and is Chaired by Professor Carron Shankland. Progress against the Athena SWAN institutional action plan is reported to the Equality Steering Group.


‌‌‌Key progress to date: 

  • Development and delivery of Stepping Stones, a two-day personal and professional development programme for female staff
  • Training delivered for female and male staff on the academic promotions process
  • Key staff trained in unconscious bias
  • Establishment of Stirling Women – the University’s gender equality forum
  • Successful submission of two departmental Athena SWAN award applications in April 2015
  • Planned submissions of another departmental application in November 2015 and further applications to be made in 2016. 

All of our STEMM divisions and Faculties are working towards Departmental Athena SWAN awards. The submission for each group is being developed by a panel of academic and support staff. The panels are supported by colleagues in Policy and Planning and the IASG. There are regular opportunities for sharing best practice between the groups and with the IASG. 

  • Division of Biological and Environmental Science within the Faculty of Natural Sciences, Chaired by Dr Kirsty Park (Bronze Award holders) - you can view the application and action plan here
  • Division of Psychology within the Faculty of Natural Sciences, Chaired by Professor Peter Hancock
  • Division of Computing Science and Mathematics within the Faculty of Natural Sciences, Chaired by Dr Gabriela Ochoa
  • Institute of Aquaculture within the Faculty of Natural Sciences, Chaired by Professor Rachel Norman
  • Faculty of Health Sciences, Chaired by Ms Fiona Dobbie (Bronze Award holders) - you can view the application and action plan here

In May 2015, the Equality Challenge Unit expanded the Athena SWAN initiative to include Arts and Humanities, Social Sciences, Business and Law (AHSSBL) disciplines. Several AHSSBL departments have already established their panels with a view to submitting award applications in 2016: 

  • Faculty of Social Science, Chaired by Dr Vikki McCall, Dr Peter Matthews and Dr Jane Smithson
  • Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Chaired by Professor Paul Cairney

If you want to find out more about our application, please contact us at


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