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OU receives Bronze renewal of Athena SWAN Award

The Open University has been re-awarded Bronze status for the Athena SWAN Charter following our recent submission to Advance HE.

Athena SWAN is an internationally recognised gender equality charter, acting as a catalyst for change and cultural transformation, which enables all staff to achieve their maximum potential. By identifying barriers faced in the workplace and finding solutions to break them down, Athena SWAN supports our strategic objective to promote a dynamic and inclusive culture.

Through extensive consultation and analysis of data on staff profile, recruitment, promotion and training in the preparation for this submission, we have identified a range of areas to further gender equality at the OU, including improvements to maternity and paternity leave practices, a revision of our transgender staff policy and greater support and guidance for managers around key transition points in staff careers and the employee lifecycle. We hope to develop sector-leading policies to address such issues as endometriosis, menopause, miscarriage and infertility in the workplace, and consultation with staff will continue throughout the process. 

Vice-Chancellor Professor Tim Blackman said:

“Securing the renewal of our institutional Athena SWAN award is just the first step. We must continue to embed gender equality across the University, and this is a key priority for our new Dean for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI), Professor Marcia Wilson. Work has already begun on implementing the Action Plan from our Athena SWAN submission, and our Gender Equality Steering Group, supported by the EDI team, will be working with Units, teams and colleagues across the University to ensure our actions are delivered as per our commitment and as scheduled.

“I would like to thank the entire Athena SWAN SAT, and in particular Professor Clem Herman who led the SAT and Dr Frances Morton who was our Academic Lead, for all the hard work and significant time commitment that went into producing the Bronze award submission. I’d also like to acknowledge the hard work of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) team in People Services who supported the SAT and the submission process.”

In addition to our institutional award the School of Environment, Earth & Ecosystem Sciences has secured its first Bronze award and the School of Life, Health & Chemical Sciences has also renewed its Bronze status. This means that all seven STEM schools have now secured Athena SWAN awards, which is a fantastic achievement. Congratulations also to the School of Engineering and Innovation who received their Silver Athena SWAN award last month.

For more information on Athena SWAN at The Open University, please email


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