Inclusive environments

  • multicultural group of women chatting

Interdisciplinary research that seeks to develop new strategies for changing system-wide attitudes, culture and practices within HEI communities, and building inclusive research and teaching environments and communities across the sector

The academic research landscape has changed enormously since the inception of pre-Athena SWAN strategies some 30 years ago. No significant change, however, has been observed in the diversity of our research communities during that period. Indeed, in some STEMM disciplines diversity has declined (e.g. female representation on computer science programmes has dropped from 37% in 1983 to 17% in 2016). Although Athena SWAN (AS) is now commonplace across HEIs, structural issues of the gendered gap in pay and working conditions, disproportionate barriers to career progression, and a limited number of women in senior academic and management roles, remain prevalent across the sector. This is not, however, a gender-only concern. Barriers to recruitment, retention and promotion also intersect with questions of race, sexuality, ability and class, and have led to the under-representation of other groups (i.e. BAME, LGBTQ and people with disabilities). With the substantial investment over the last 30 years failing to create a fully diverse workforce, it is now time for a paradigm shift in strategy, and an overhaul of our approaches to inclusion and diversity.

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