About Athena Swan
The UK’s Equality Challenge Unit’s (ECU) 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.
In May 2015 the charter was expanded to recognise work undertaken in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL), and in professional and support roles, and for trans staff and students. The charter now recognises work undertaken to address gender equality more broadly, and not just barriers to progression that affect women.
ECU’s Athena SWAN Charter covers women (and men where appropriate) in:
- academic roles in STEMM and AHSSBL
- professional and support staff
- trans staff and students
In relation to their:
- progression of students into academia
- journey through career milestones
- working environment for all staff
In a major national initiative supported by the Higher Education Authority, the Athena SWAN Charter was launched in Ireland in early 2015. Figures published by the Higher Education Authority in its 2016 National Review of Gender Equality in Irish Higher Education Institutions highlight gender inequality as an issue for the sector.