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University of Brighton recognised for progress on gender equality as pay gap shrinks by a third

The University of Brighton has been given the Athena Swan Silver Award for its impact in addressing gender inequality and improving progression for all staff.

The Athena Swan Charter seeks to promote gender equality, representation and progression within higher education, and address barriers to progression for all staff. As part of its application the university has created a five-year action plan to tackle issues such as the gender pay gap and so-called ‘glass ceilings’ which can impact on career progression.

As a result of a sustained programme of activity, the University of Brighton’s mean gender pay gap has reduced by a third in just five years, from 14.6% in 2017 to 9.63% in 2021. There has also been a significant increase in women applying for promotion at the most senior academic grades, with 59% of applicants for those positions being female in 2020-21, compared to 49% in 2019-20.

The university’s application for the Athena Swan Bronze Award in 2016 identified the position of principal lecturer as a significant point of blockage in female progression and put actions in place – including targeted management and leadership programmes – which have contributed to an increase in female principal lecturers from 38% to 44%.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Debra Humphris says: “I’m delighted and grateful to so many colleagues who continue to work hard to improve gender equality in our university. The granting of an institutional Athena Swan Silver Award is outstanding recognition not just of our progress to date, but importantly our commitment to the actions we have set out over the next five years.

“Inclusivity is one of our four university core values and every one of us plays a role in creating the conditions in which equality comes to life. This award is for the whole university and I hope everyone in Brighton will take pride in this well-deserved national recognition.”

The university’s work on gender equality includes a strong focus on supporting transgender, non-binary and intersex colleagues. Activities include the #MyPronounsAre campaign with Brighton & Hove City Council and local public sector partners, a training partnership with Sussex-based charity Allsorts and a range of talks and events with transgender alumni such as model and activist Munro Bergdorf.

The University of Brighton joined the Athena Swan Charter in 2012, achieving its institutional Bronze Award in April 2013, and maintaining that accreditation three years later. Since 2012, ten of the university’s schools have achieved Athena Swan awards, including two Silver Awards. All new schools have established Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Committees committed to progressing the goals laid out in the Athena Swan charter.

Kerry Burnett • 17/11/2021

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