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Join ECU’s Athena SWAN Charter

Transform gender equality in your institution by becoming a member of ECU's Athena SWAN Charter

A growing number of universities, departments and research institutes have already become members of ECU’s Athena SWAN Charter. Join now to show your institution’s commitment to advancing women’s careers in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) and arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL) employment.

New members are expected to apply for an institutional Bronze award within three years of joining the charter. Your institution needs to be a charter member to apply for an Athena SWAN award.

Benefits of joining ECU’s Athena SWAN Charter

Membership of Athena SWAN has a proven impact as a catalyst for change, leading to organisational and cultural transformation that makes a real difference for women and enables all staff to achieve their maximum potential. The framework allows you to identify areas for positive action, as well as recognise and share good practice.

Being part of an internationally-recognised gender equality initiative can help your institution meet equality legislation requirements, as well as the requirements and expectations of some funders and research councils and align with policy priorities.

Promoting inclusive working practices through the Athena SWAN Charter can increase your retention of valued academics and professional and support staff, especially women. Being part of the charter can also illustrate your commitment to an equitable working environment to potential staff.

Athena SWAN Charter members are able to:

  • submit for institutional and department level Athena SWAN awards
  • access resources, publications and benchmarking data to prepare award submissions
  • attend workshops on submitting for an award and working towards the next level
  • become part of a national and regional peer support and practice-sharing network of members
  • access advice and support from the ECU Equality Charter’s team
  • join the Athena SWAN email forum
  • use Athena SWAN logos to highlight your commitment to gender equality on institutional websites, materials and job adverts
Who can join >

Membership of the Athena SWAN Charter is open to any higher education institution or publicly-funded STEMM-focused research institute which is committed to the advancement and promotion of the careers of women in higher education and research.

Membership is open to:

  • UK institutions that hold legal status as a higher education institution
  • publicly-funded STEMM-focused research institutes
  • Higher education institutions and institutes of technology in the Republic of Ireland, who can join the current pilot programme

Definitions of STEMM

Athena SWAN uses the BIS definition of STEMM, as set out in their Science, Engineering and Technology Skills in the UK report (March 2006).

For a more detailed break down of STEMM subjects the HESA JACS Subject Codes A-K are all recognised as STEMM for the purposes of Athena SWAN.

How to become a member >

From May 2015 to join ECU's Athena SWAN Charter, we require a letter of endorsement from the vice-chancellor, principal, director (or equivalent) of your institution.

The letter confirms:

  • the institution’s commitment at the highest level
  • acceptance of the Athena SWAN principles
  • commitment to action at institutional and/or department level

We have created a template for you to adapt: Athena SWAN Charter membership letter template

If you are already a member >

If you are already a member of ECU's Athena SWAN Charter, in order to submit an application to the Post-May 2015 Athena SWAN Charter the institution must sign up and show commitment to the new principles of the charter.

The letter of commitment must be sent before the institution or its departments is eligible to apply for a post-May 2015 award. All members will be expected to have signed the new principles by April 2017.

We have created a template for you to adapt: Athena SWAN Charter principles letter

Membership Fees >

From 1 January 2016, the configuration of ECU’s funding is changing. HEIs in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland will be affected differently by these changes:

For universities in England and Northern Ireland

From 1 January 2016 higher education institutions in England and Northern Ireland will need to subscribe directly to ECU to continue to access our services, resources and advice, and to take part in our equality charters, including Athena SWAN.

HEIs in England and Northern Ireland will be charged between £4,000 and £20,000 per year dependent on an institution’s total income. Subscription levels include membership to all of ECU charters and the cost of applying to these at the institutional level.

An application fee of £500 will still apply for departmental level applications. This is in order to cover the cost of administering the charter panels arising from departmental applications.

For existing Athena SWAN member institutions who have paid for membership until April 2016, a £750 deduction will be made on the total subscription amount before you are invoiced.

For universities in Scotland and Wales

In Scotland we have continued funding from the Scottish Funding Council until at least 2018, and Universities Wales have agreed to a collective subscription model for Welsh HEIs until the end of academic year 2016/17.  Subsequently HEIs in Scotland and Wales will not have to subscribe to access ECU’s services, but a charge will remain for participating in Athena SWAN.

HEIs with STEMM and AHSSBL departments will continue to pay £3000 a year to be a member of Athena SWAN. Those with only AHSSBL departments will be charged a reduced sum of £2000.

An application fee of £500 applies for departmental level applications. This is in order to cover the cost of administering the charter panels arising from departmental applications.

For research institutes

The membership fee for research institutes is £2000. No application fee applies.

If you have further questions about joining the charter, please contact athenaswan@ecu.ac.uk, or call 020 7438 1022.