UKAEA’s work to increase diversity and inclusion amongst its workforce has been recognised by a second Bronze Award from the Athena SWAN charter – the nationwide accreditation scheme for gender equality in higher education and research.
Athena SWAN was set up by the Equality Challenge Unit (now Advance HE) to encourage and recognise employers’ commitment to advancing the careers of women in research and higher education. The charter was updated in May 2015 to recognise work undertaken to address gender equality more broadly, and not just barriers to progression that affect women. There are currently 160 Athena SWAN member organisations.
UKAEA first achieved the standard in 2015 as a catalyst in its efforts to address a long-standing lack of diversity among its employees – a problem that is unfortunately common to many UK scientific and engineering organisations.
UKAEA CEO, Professor Ian Chapman was delighted with the news :
I am delighted with UKAEA’s latest Bronze award – this confirms the major steps forward in the last three years: Equality Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) now has a higher profile in the organisation.
Inclusion and a sense of belonging is the mainstay of our approach to engendering culture change at UKAEA and all of the Athena SWAN action points have this as the ultimate aim. I am fully committed to delivering our action plan so that we can achieve the ambition of being regarded as a truly inclusive employer.
Since 2015, UKAEA has used the Athena SWAN scheme as the springboard for a wider programme of changes to create a more inclusive workplace culture and practices. Uptake of flexible working practices has increased significantly, we have a large team of Inclusion Ambassadors, and support networks for new parents and LGBT+ staff.
Winning another Bronze Award is a sign of this progress. Less than 60% of applications are successful – but UKAEA is committing itself to further improvements. It is targeting a Silver Award within the next four years as it continues efforts to make the organisation a welcoming place for people from all backgrounds.