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National award recognises Sussex Psychology’s commitment to gender equality

The School of Psychology at the University of Sussex has been recognised for its ongoing commitment to gender equality, with the accolade of an Athena SWAN silver award.

Psychology achieved a bronze award in 2016; this has been upgraded to silver until 2023, acknowledging the School’s work to address unequal gender representation and the barriers to progression for women.

The silver award reflects the School’s progress in areas such as:

  • Eliminating the gender gap in PhD completion times;
  • Supporting the transition of junior academic staff from fixed-term to permanent roles;
  • Improving the relative speed of promotion trajectories for female academic staff;
  • Increasing the proportion of women in senior academic roles;
  • Supporting research of academic staff returning from maternity or adoption leave with a reduced teaching and admin load;
  • Moving meetings and research seminars into ‘core hours’ to enable those with caring responsibilities to attend;
  • Improving communication to staff about policies related to gender equality;
  • Increasing the transparency and fairness of workload allocation;
  • Contributing to the development of University-level policies and procedures on staff-student relationships and workload allocation.

The School’s current gender ratio of 41% female professors compares favourably with a national benchmark of 34.5% for psychology and behavioural sciences.

Dr Viv Vignoles is Athena SWAN lead for Psychology and chair of the School’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee. He said: “This collective achievement recognises the myriad ways in which School members continually contribute towards making this a more inclusive place to work and study – through their everyday actions at work, through participating in our surveys, and through letting us know their ideas for improvement.

Professor Robin Banerjee, Head of the School of Psychology, commented: “This award recognises the commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion throughout our School. 

“We are delighted that both our past achievements and the quality of our future plans for improving gender equality have received this endorsement, and we look forward to making continued progress in this area.”

Sharon Neal, Assistant Director of Culture and Inclusion in Human Resources, added: “Gender equality in higher education is about removing the obstacles faced by women, in particular, at major points of career development and progression, to create a fully inclusive university.

“For us Athena SWAN is an important part of the solution to addressing gender inequality at Sussex. It fits with our commitments to promote an inclusive culture and to close the gender pay gap.

"This latest award is well-deserved and I would like to congratulate the School of Psychology, who have made a really positive commitment to supporting gender equality through a number of initiatives.

“We also continue to make significant developments through our 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.”

All of the STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Medicine and Mathematics) schools at Sussex currently have at least a bronze award.

Since the Athena SWAN scheme – now run by Advance HE – was expanded to include non-STEMM disciplines, several other schools have been preparing for future submissions.

Sussex currently holds an institution-wide bronze award.

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Posted on behalf of: School of Psychology
Last updated: Monday, 18 May 2020

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