Athena Swan

The Athena SWAN Charter evolved from work between the Athena Project and the Scientific Women’s Academic Network (SWAN), to advance the representation of women in science, technology, engineering, medicine and mathematics (STEMM). With the support of Equality Challenge Unit (ECU) and the UKRC, the Charter was officially launched at the Institute of Physics on 22 June 2005, with the first awards conferred in 2006. The Charter has grown consistently from its inception.


All Athena SWAN members sign up to the principles of the charter:

  • To address gender inequalities requires commitment and action from everyone, at all levels of the organisation
  • To tackle the unequal representation of women in science requires changing cultures and attitudes across the organisation
  • The absence of diversity at management and policy-making levels has broad implications which the organisation will examine
  • The high loss rate of women in science is an urgent concern which the organisation will address
  • The system of short-term contracts has particularly negative consequences for the retention and progression of women in science, which the organisation recognises
  • There are both personal and structural obstacles to women making the transition from PhD into a sustainable academic career in science, which require the active consideration of the organization.

Why is this important to us?

As a Research institute we are applying for the Silver Award, we believe that we have many examples of excellent practice of supporting women’s careers in science, and we know we can do more, the Athena Swan Charter provides us with an robust framework to develop further.

How does this affect the Leicester Diabetes Centre?

The majority of staff are already benefitting from our systems, processes and positive culture. We hope that staff will continue to engage with the DRC Self assessment team and make further suggestions about how we can support women in science. The changes we make will benefit the entire team both men and women and we are really pleased with the work we have done to date, and are excited that there is more to do.

How can I get involved?

We are really keen to hear from staff within the center and are very happy for you to contact any member of the team with your suggestions

Athena Swan Self Assesment Team