Department of Mathematics

Athena SWAN

The Department of Mathematics is proud to hold Athena SWAN Bronze Status and to support this prestigious and important charter.

What is Athena SWAN?

The Athena SWAN Charter recognises commitment to advancing women's careers in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment in academia. The Charter was launched in June 2005. 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 charter has now been expanded to recognise work undertaken to address gender equality more broadly, and not just barriers to progression that affect women.  To that end, any references to gender are to be taken as inclusive of all gender identities including, for example, non-binary, fluid and trans identities."

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
  • For more information, please visit:
Athena SWAN comprises of 3 levels of recognition for efforts to advance women's careers: Bronze, Silver and Gold. Currently the Mathematics Department holds Bronze level.
LMS Good Practice Scheme

The London Mathematical Society (LMS) is the UK’s learned society for mathematics. Its purpose is the advancement, dissemination and promotion of mathematical knowledge, both nationally and internationally.

In February 2013, the LMS launched Advancing Women in Mathematics: Good Practice in UK University Departments. The Society's Women in Mathematics Committee has developed a Good Practice Scheme with the aim of supporting mathematics departments to embed equal opportunities for women within their working practices.

The Department of Mathematics is proud to be recognised as a Supporter of the Good Practice Scheme.

To become a supporter, a department should be committed to supporting the scheme and the five principles of good practice:

Principle 1 - A robust organisational framework to deliver equality of opportunity and reward.

Principle 2 - Appointment, promotion and selection processes and procedures that encourage men and women to apply for academic posts at all levels.

Principle 3 - Departmental structures and systems that enable men and women to progress and continue in their careers.

Principle 4 - Departmental organisation, structure, management arrangements and culture that are open, inclusive and transparent and encourage the participation of all staff.

Principle 5 - Flexible approaches and provisions that encompass the working day, the working year and a working life and enable individuals at all career and life stages, to maximise their contribution to mathematics, their department and institution.

Statement of Support from the Head of Department

As a veteran Human Rights activist I have always endorsed the principles of broad gender equality and representation, progression and success for all on which the Athena SWAN (AS) Charter is based. For this reason, as current Head of the Department of Mathematics at the University of Sussex, I am deeply committed to reach the goals set by our AS action plan.

Professor Michael Melgaard,
Head of Department of Mathematics
The Application for Bronze Status

Department of Mathematics Athena SWAN Bronze application [PDF 1.01MB]

The Action Plan

Department of Mathematics Action Plan [PDF 146.55KB]

Our Family-Friendly Policies and Practices

Within our Department, we aim to be in the vanguard with regard to policies and practices that support the diverse needs of our staff and students.  As examples, we have implemented the following:

  • A completely open and transparent workload allocation model that accounts in detail for time spent on the many tasks undertaken by our academics, sharing burdens fairly and allowing junior faculty to take on significant responsibilities.
  • A policy of reduction of duties for returners from maternity leave, to 60% of the normal workload during the first semester
  • Internally arranged meetings to take place, as far as possible, within family-friendly hours of 10 am to 4 pm, with all staff (including minute-takers) explicitly permitted to leave at the end of the scheduled time
  • Appointment of Equality and Diversity Champions, with whom concerned staff members may discuss in confidence without having to pass via their Line Managers
  • Explicit encouragement for all research and teaching staff to discuss their career progression within their annual Appraisal, rather than using Appraisal merely as a performance-management tool
Funding for Female Scientists

Women in Science Fellowships --- enable female scientists to facilitate world-class research and develop their careers 

Daphne Jackson Trust --- returning researchers to their careers following a career break

Wellcome Trust re-entry scheme ---  grant to allow flexibility in research career

Funds for Women Graduates --- promotes higher education and further learning for women graduates

Networks for Female Researchers

LMS Women in Mathematics

European Women in Mathematics

IET Women's Network



Equality and Diversity at the University of Sussex
The University of Sussex is committed to providing an environment for work and study that advances equality of opportunity.
Please visit the University web pages relating to Equality and Diversity, and the University Athena SWAN web pages


Equality and Diversity Champions

The School has appointed two Equality and Diversity Champions.

They act as a point of liaison between members of the School, professional services, and members of the management including the Heads of Department and the Head of School. Where an issue of inequality is perceived to arise, they are appropriate points of contact to approach about the issue.



Dr Cassandra Churchwell               

Dr Cassandra Churchwell



Dr Alessia Pasquazi          

Dr Alessia Pasquazi







UK Equality and Diversity Law

The 2010 Equality Act is the most significant piece of equality legislation in the UK for many years. It simplifies, streamlines and strengthens the law. It gives individuals greater protection from unfair discrimination and makes it easier for employers and companies to understand their responsibilities. It also sets a new standard for those who provide public services to treat everyone with dignity and respect.    

Equality act 2010    

Equality act guidance, from the Government Equalities Office

Equality act guidance and codes of practice from the Equality and Human Rights Commission


Good practice scheme logo