National award renewal recognises Sussex’s commitment to gender equality
Posted on behalf of: University of Sussex
Last updated: Monday, 10 May 2021
The University of Sussex has been recognised for its ongoing commitment to progressing gender equality by the flagship accreditation scheme, Athena SWAN. The University’s bronze institutional award has been renewed until April 2026.
Professor Miguel Maravall, chair of the Athena SWAN Self- Assessment Team, said: “I am delighted that we have achieved this national recognition of our commitment to progressing gender equality and creating an inclusive university at Sussex.
“We are aware that much remains to be done: the award will spur us on our way and encourage us to hold to that commitment.
“I am very grateful to members of the Athena SWAN Self-Assessment Team and the EDI Unit, who have worked closely together to achieve our goal of renewing our bronze institutional award.”
Sharon Neal, Assistant Director of Culture and Inclusion in Human Resources, added: “We have a genuine commitment to gender equality and supporting the talents and potential of women at Sussex.
“We continue to make developments through a wide range of targeted actions to address various challenges in different disciplines. Thank you to everyone involved for their hard work and dedication.
“We recognise the challenges that remain and we are fully committed to implementing our ambitious gender equality action plan, which brings together all of the institutional-level actions and initiatives to promote gender equality and reduce the gender pay gap at Sussex.”
The University has already started to implement many of the actions in the plan, including the introduction in March 2021 of a new self-service portal on MyView, where staff can update their equality information in confidence.
Sharon said: “This will help us to improve our data collection and monitoring across all protected characteristics and enable us to identify and address any areas of disadvantage or under-representation.”
In addition, new information and guidance sessions have been introduced as part of the 2021 academic promotions round; and applicants for promotion have been encouraged to include information about reductions in output/productivity due to the pandemic. (Evidence shows that women are more likely to be affected by caring responsibilities during lockdowns.)
Some of the other key focus areas in the plan relate to:
- promotion and career progression – for example, through evaluation of the impact on women’s career progression of the new academic career pathways introduced in 2019
- flexible working and career breaks – monitoring the impact of the University’s ‘Flexible by default’ policy and developing and implementing a remote working policy
- grade 10 pay framework – reviewing the current framework and introducing definitions of grade 10 pay bands with a target to increase the percentage of women in the top pay band by 3% by 2024
- staff recruitment – including guidance for search agencies to ensure a diverse representation on all longlists and shortlists for senior posts
- dignity and respect – with the upcoming roll-out of a new online platform that will facilitate the reporting of any incidents involving discrimination and harassment, and will allow the University to take prompt action and improve record-keeping
- and the analysis of data to develop targeted actions across all areas.
In addition to the University’s institutional Athena SWAN bronze award, the following schools currently have department-level awards:
- Brighton and Sussex Medical School (silver, November 2017)
- History, Art History and Philosophy (now part of the School of Media, Arts and Humanities) (bronze, April 2021)
- Media, Film and Music (now part of the School of Media, Arts and Humanities) (bronze, November 2020)
- School of Engineering and Informatics (bronze, renewed April 2018)
- School of Life Sciences (silver, renewed April 2019).
- School of Mathematics and Physical Sciences (bronze, November 2017)
- School of Psychology (silver, April 2020)
Miguel said: “Achieving departmental awards for each of our schools remains a clear commitment for us as part of delivering our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, Inclusive Sussex.”
Due to the ongoing impact of Covid-19, there will be no Athena SWAN awards ceremony this year; Advance HE, which manages the charter, is considering alternative and delayed options so that award winners can celebrate their achievements.