School of Life Sciences

Athena SWAN

Welcome to Athena SWAN

We are proud to hold an Athena SWAN Silver Award, demonstrating our commitment to the advancement of gender equality and representation, progression and success for all.

Athena Swan Nav

Since 2005, the Athena SWAN charter has awarded institutions and their departments for commitment to advancing the careers of women in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Medicine). It now also recognises work undertaken to address equality more broadly within higher education and research, not just the barriers to progression that affect women. 

This website is designed to be a useful source of information for staff and students in the School of Life Sciences who want to know more about what we do to promote these important values. You will find more information about:

Find out more about the Athena SWAN Charter

The Athena SWAN Charter recognises commitment to advancing women's careers in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment in academia. Any higher education institution which is committed to the advancement and promotion of the careers of women in STEMM in higher education and research can apply for membership.

The beliefs underpinning the Charter are:

  • The advancement of science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine is fundamental to quality of life across the globe
  • It is vitally important that women are adequately represented in what has traditionally been, and is still, a male-dominated area
  • Science cannot reach its full potential unless it can benefit from the talents of the whole population, and until women and men can benefit equally from the opportunities it affords

The Charter is managed by the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU). Find out more on the ECU website

The 10 key principles

The Athena SWAN Charter is based on ten key principles. By being part of Athena SWAN, the University of Sussex and the School of Life Sciences commits to a progressive charter; adopting these principles within policies, practices, action plans and culture:

1. We acknowledge that academia cannot reach its full potential unless it can benefit from the talents of all.

2. We commit to advancing gender equality in academia, in particular, addressing the loss of women across the career pipeline and the absence of women from senior academic, professional and support roles.

3. We commit to addressing unequal gender representation across academic disciplines and professional and support functions. In this we recognise disciplinary differences including the particularly high loss rate of women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM)

4. We commit to tackling the gender pay gap.

5. We commit to removing the obstacles faced by women, in particular, at major points of career development and progression including the transition from PhD into a sustainable academic career.

6. We commit to addressing the negative consequences of using short-term contracts for the retention and progression of staff in academia, particularly women.

7. We commit to tackling the discriminatory treatment often experienced by trans people.

8. We acknowledge that advancing gender equality demands commitment and action from all levels of the organisation and in particular active leadership from those in senior roles.

9. We commit to making and mainstreaming sustainable structural and cultural changes to advance gender equality, recognising that initiatives and actions that support individuals alone will not sufficiently advance equality.

10. All individuals have identities shaped by several different factors. We commit to considering the intersection of gender and other factors wherever possible.

School Contact

The Life Sciences Athena SWAN self-assessment committee is co-chaired by Dr Oyinkan Adesakin and Professor Miguel Maravall.