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Home Article Our gender equality charter marks are changing

Our gender equality charter marks are changing

Published: 10/11/2014

ECU's Athena SWAN charter and our gender equality charter mark are merging. Take part in our consultation.

ECU’s Athena SWAN charter will be expanding next year to include arts, humanities, social science, business and law departments alongside the current science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine disciplines.

This exciting development follows a successful gender equality charter mark trial, which ran between October 2013 and September 2014 and resulted in five higher education institutions and 17 departments receiving awards.

The gender equality charter mark also explored equality for men and trans staff as well as women, professional and support staff, honorary staff and atypical staff. Athena SWAN will be extended to cover these areas.


We are currently developing and aligning processes to ensure the expansion is effective and meets the needs of current Athena SWAN members, the institutions that took part in the gender equality charter mark trial, and future charter mark applicants. A consultation is now open to gather your opinions on the changes.

The deadline for responses is: Monday 8 December 2014.

We are also in the process of consulting with a number of key stakeholders, including ECU funders, the royal societies and BIS on the future shape and direction of our charter marks.

We are currently running a trial of our race equality charter mark. We will be further reviewing Athena SWAN and gender equality charter mark materials and processes when the race trial concludes in July 2015.

Immediate implications >

If you are currently preparing a gender charter mark application using the trial materials:

  • We will be changing the GEM application forms and data requirements, although the areas of activity and evidence of impact sought in applications will be similar to those used in the gender equality charter mark trial.
  • Any future submissions will need to follow the revised processes and use the revised application form which will be available in April 2015.
  • If your institution has been using the trial materials to inform current and future gender equality work and application to the charter mark, this work will be transferable to the revised application structure.
  • The existing trial materials have been removed from our website.

If you are an Athena SWAN member:

  • There are no immediate implications for Athena SWAN submissions.
  • Submissions will need to align with the new processes from April 2016, although you will be able to move to the new processes from November 2015 should you wish.
  • Details of transitional arrangements for existing award holders will be released in April 2015.
Proposed timetable >

Following the consultation, our proposed timetable for aligning the charters is:

  • April 2015: Launch of combined Athena SWAN and arts, humanities, social science, business and law departments charter mark.
    • This will include publication of new process guidance, criteria, application forms and clearer guidance on data presentation and analysis, plus an appeals process
  • November 2015: Arts, humanities, social science, business and law departments, and institutions can submit award applications using the new processes. STEMM departments are able to continue using existing application processes.
  •  April 2016: All submissions to use the combined application forms.

A more detailed timetable, including proposed dates for the launch of ECU's race equality charter mark, is available on the consultation page.

Visit the consultation page for full details.