News Editor | Iffah Ahmed
The Athena Silver SWAN Award from the Equality Challenge Unit has been awarded to The Department of Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London. The award recognises and appraises outstanding commitment and excellence in the progression and development of gender equality.
Athena SWAN (Scientific Women’s Academic Network) was originally launched in 2005 and was principally aimed towards progressing women’s advancements in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM). However, currently SWAN has expanded its criteria to cover all areas from professional staff to students and academic support.
The Geography department has had rapid improvements on its proportion of female academic staff and this is what the award follows on from. In 2012/2013 the percentage for female staff was 22% and has increased to 41% in 2018. This increase, across all three of the department’s research groups has contributed to the appointment of more female leads.
Professor José Fiadeiro, Dean of Science at Royal Holloway commented the following; “I’d like to congratulate Geography on their achievements in promoting equality and diversity which have earned them the Athena SWAN silver award.
“I am delighted that there are now three silver awards as well as several bronze awards within the Sciences at Royal Holloway, including a recently renewed bronze award for Biological Sciences, demonstrating our commitment in this important area.”
Head of Geography, Professor Philip Crang added: “I am delighted at this recognition of our commitment to embed concerns for equality and diversity in all that we do.
“I particularly want to thank our equality and diversity committee, led by Dr Vandana Desai and Professor Harriet Hawkins, and my predecessor as Head of Department, Professor Katie Willis, for their leadership on these issues.
“As a community of students and staff, we all benefit tremendously from an environment of equality and is enriched by diverse experiences and voices.”
The Geography department along with the Psychology and Physics department all hold a silver award at Royal Holloway.