Aberystwyth recognised for its commitment to gender equality

ECU announces the results for the gender equality charter mark trial

ECU announces the results for the gender equality charter mark trial

05 September 2014

Aberystwyth University has been recognised for its progress in advancing gender equality in arts, humanities and social science careers in higher education.

The University has achieved Bronze level in the Equality Challenge Unit’s (ECU) trial gender equality charter mark (GEM) – the first award scheme of its kind for these disciplines.

Based on the principles of ECU’s highly successful Athena SWAN Charter for women in science, the gender equality charter mark aims to address chronic gender imbalance and underrepresentation in the arts, humanities and social sciences.

Professor April McMahon, Vice-Chancellor of Aberystwyth University said, “I am very grateful to our new Director of Ethics and Equality, Professor Kate Bullen, for leading on this important work.

“We are delighted to have received this Bronze Award. Aberystwyth is committed to supporting equality of opportunity for all and this recognition is an excellent validation of our dedication to equality.”

The Bronze level, the highest level award this year,  is the first step in the process showing a strong commitment to specific actions and building a culture that will improve the representation, progression and success of both staff and students.

While the charter has a particular focus on the underrepresentation of women in senior roles, it will also encourage progress on the underrepresentation of men in subjects such as teaching and social work and also seeks to address the unfair treatment often experienced by trans people.

David Ruebain, ECU's chief executive said, “The results offer an opportunity to celebrate the hard work and achievements of everyone involved in the charter mark trial, and to focus on the positive progress being made to address chronic gender inequalities in HE.

“Following the success of this trial round, we are delighted that we will now be able to fully develop a charter mark that supports equality in the arts, humanities and social sciences – disciplines that have not until this point received the same attention as science subjects.

“We hope that the gender equality charter mark will have the same positive effect for these subjects as Athena SWAN has had on women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine.

“I commend the work of all the participants so far, and look forward to seeing the impact of their actions as they move up to silver and gold levels in the future.”

An event to celebrate the progress participants have made in the trial will take place in December 2014. ECU is currently finalising the format of the future charter based on feedback from trial participants, with a view to aligning it more closely with the Athena SWAN charter.

All institutions and arts, humanities and social science departments will be able to take part in the charter mark process in 2015.