Advertisement

An Examination of the Athena SWAN Initiatives in the UK: Critical Reflections

  • Maria TsouroufliEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Gender and Education book series (GED)

Abstract

Athena SWAN is an equality charter for universities and research institutions, managed by the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU) in the UK. This chapter discusses the evolution and development of the scheme since its inception as well as some of its successes and challenges within the neoliberal and commercialised context of higher education. It offers good examples of institutional and departmental projects by award holders, as well as critical reflections on the charter. This chapter raises interesting questions about the effectiveness of gender equality certification process in eradicating sexism in academia and creating gender and other inequities.

Keywords

Athena SWAN Gender equality Sexism Higher education 

References

  1. Acker, S. (1992). New perspectives on an old problem: The position of women academics in British Higher Education. Higher Education, 24, 57–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anitha, S., & Lewis, R. (2018). Gender-based violence in university communities: Policy, prevention and educational interventions in Britain. Bristol, UK: Policy Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Archer, M., Hollingworth, S., & Halsall, A. (2007). University’s not for me—I am a Nike person: Urban, working-class young people’s negotiations of ‘style’, identity and educational engagement. Sociology, 41(2), 219–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bagilhole, B. (1993). Survivors in a male preserve: A study of British women academics’ experiences and perceptions of discrimination in a UK university. Higher Education, 26, 431–447.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Barnard, S. (2017). The Athena SWAN Charter: Promoting commitment to gender equality in Higher Education. In P. O’Connor & K. White (Eds.), Gendered success in Higher Education: Global perspectives (pp. 155–174). London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Baker, M. (2012). Academic careers and the gender gap. Vancouver, Canada: UBC Press.Google Scholar
  7. David, E. M. (2016a). Reclaiming feminism: Challenging everyday misogyny. Bristol, UK: Polity Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. David, E. M. (2016b). A feminist manifesto for education. Bristol, UK: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  9. Deem, R. (2003). Gender, organisational cultures and the practices of managers-academics in UK Universities. Gender, Work and Organisation, 10(2), 240–259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Caffrey, L., Wyatt, D., Fudge, N., Mattingley, H., Williamson, C., & McKevitt, C. (2016). Gender equity programmes in academic medicine: A realist evaluation approach to Athena SWAN processes. British Medical Journal Open, 6(9), 1–9.Google Scholar
  11. Changing University Cultures. (2016). Imperial college report. https://chucl.com. Last accessed August 2018.
  12. Equality Challenge UK (ECU). (2014). Evaluating the effectiveness and impact of the Athena SWAN Charter. Written by F. Munir, C. Mason, H. McDermott, J. Morries, B. Bagilhole‚ & M. Nevill. https://www.ecu.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/external/evaluating-the-effectiveness-and-impact-of-the-athena-swan-charter.pdf. Last accessed August 2018.
  13. Equality Challenge UK (ECU). (2017). ECU Awards Booklet, April 2017. https://www.ecu.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/xxxx_ECU_Awards_Booklet_April_2017-V4.pdf.
  14. Equality Challenge UK (ECU). (2018). Intersectional approaches to equality and diversity. https://www.ecu.ac.uk/publications/intersectional-approaches-equality-diversity/.
  15. Gregory-Smith, I. (2015). The impact of Athena SWAN in UK medical schools. Sheffield Economic Research Paper Series. Sheffield, UK: Department of Economics, University of Sheffield.Google Scholar
  16. Henderson, E. (2015). Gender pedagogy: Teaching, learning and tracing gender in Higher Education. London, UK: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  17. Jackson, C., Dempster, S., & Pollard, L. (2015). They just don’t seem to really care, they just think it’s cools to sit there and talk: Laddism in university-teaching and learning contexts. Educational Review, 67(3), 300–314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Morley, L. (2003). Quality and power in Higher Education. Buckingham, UK: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Morley, L. (2005). Gender equity in Commonwealth Higher Education. Women’s Studies International Forum, 28(2), 209–221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Morley, L. (2007). Gender and UK Higher Education: Post-feminism in a market economy. In M. A. D. Sagaria (Ed.), Women, universities and change (pp. 133–144). New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Morley, L. (2015). Troubling intra-actions: Gender, neo-liberalism and research in the global academy. Journal of Education Policy, 23(3), 1–18.Google Scholar
  22. Morley, L., & Walsh, V. (1995). Feminist academics: Creative agents for change. London, UK: Taylor and Francis.Google Scholar
  23. Pearce, R. (2017). Certifying equality? Critical reflections on Athena SWAN and equality accreditation. Coventry, UK: Centre for the Study of Women and Gender.Google Scholar
  24. Phipps, A., & Smith, G. (2012). Violence against women students in the UK: Time to take action. Gender and Education, 24(4), 357–373.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Reay, D., Crozier, G., & Clayton, G. (2010). ‘Fitting in’ or ‘standing out’: Working class student in UK Higher Education. British Educational Research Journal, 32(1), 1–19.Google Scholar
  26. Sang, K., Al Dajani, H., & Ozbilgin, M. (2013). Frayed careers of migrant female Professors in British academia: An intersectional perspective. Gender, Work and Organisation, 20(2), 158–171.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Tsouroufli, M. (2012). Breaking in and breaking out a medical school: Feminist academic interrupted. Special issue on ‘Being a feminist academic’. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Journal, 13(5), 467–483.Google Scholar
  28. Tsouroufli, M. (2018a). Gender, pedagogical identities and academic professionalism in Greek medical schools. Gender and Education, 30(1), 45–78.Google Scholar
  29. Tsouroufli, M. (2018b). ‘Playing it right?’ Gendered performances of professional respectability and ‘authenticity’ in Greek academia. Journal of International Women’s Studies, 19(6), 53–69.Google Scholar
  30. Tsouroufli, M. (2018c). Gendered and classed performances of motherhood and good academic. European Journal of Women’s Studies‚ first published 24th September 2018.Google Scholar
  31. Walkerdine, V. (2011). Neoliberalism, working-class subject and Higher Education. Contemporary Social Science, 6(2), 255–271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Education Health and WellbeingUniversity of WolverhamptonWolverhamptonUK

Personalised recommendations