Background to the Athena SWAN Charter
The Athena SWAN Charter is a recognition and award scheme for positive gender practice in Higher Education, administered by the UK’s Equality Challenge Unit (ECU).
ECU’s Athena SWAN Charter was established in 2005 to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment in higher education and research. The Charter evolved from work between the Athena Project and the Scientific Women’s Academic Network (SWAN), to advance the representation of women in science, technology, engineering, medicine and mathematics (STEMM).
In May 2015 the scope of ECU’s Athena SWAN Charter was expanded to cover gender equality in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law disciplines. staff in professional and support roles, and for trans* staff and students. The Charter now recognises work undertaken to address gender equality more broadly, not just the barriers to progression that affect women.