University of Nottingham is first to achieve prestigious Athena Swan Gold Award

The University of Nottingham has become the first university in the country to be awarded the coveted Athena Swan Gold Award for its commitment to advance gender equality across higher education and research.

Individual departments have previously successfully gained Gold level awards, but this is the first time that an institutional Gold Award has been made in the 18 years since the Athena Swan Charter was launched to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, maths and medicine (STEMM), in higher education and research. 

The University of Nottingham was one of the first institutions to join the Charter and was awarded an Athena Swan Institutional Bronze Award in 2006, and later went on to achieve an Institutional Silver Award in 2012, and the Institutional Renewal in 2017/2018.

“I am incredibly proud that the university has achieved an institutional Gold Award. Doing so requires an organisation to demonstrate progress with regard to gender equality over a sustained period and evidence of influence and the support of others through beacon activities. This has taken a huge effort from many people, often women, at the university over the past 18 years and this award is a sector and public acknowledgement of the impact of their work.”
-Katherine Linehan, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and People, and Professor of Anatomical Education

To achieve Gold, the independent review panel said the University of Nottingham demonstrated strong evidence of success in promoting and improving gender equality institution wide. The panel was particularly impressed by the university leading work across Nottinghamshire to diversify the workforce in all anchor employers in the region, including NHS recruitment, building on research on gendered language and recruitment practices.

Alison Johns, Chief Executive of Advance HE, said, “I am delighted to announce that the University of Nottingham is the first university in the UK to achieve Athena Swan Gold.

“The Gold Award recognises the quality and impact of equality, diversity and inclusion achievements not only within the university, but also the leadership and support that the University of Nottingham has provided both inside and outside of the sector to help raise the bar in gender equity practice.

“To receive an institutional Gold Award is a massive achievement and recognises the dedication and commitment of so many who have worked unstintingly to deliver on gender equality across the whole institution. Our congratulations go to Vice-Chancellor Professor Shearer West, her team, and all colleagues at the University of Nottingham on this prestigious award.”

In May 2015, the charter was expanded to recognise work undertaken in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL), and in professional and support roles, and for trans staff and students.

The charter now recognises work undertaken to address gender equality more broadly, and not just barriers to progression that affect women.