The event is organised each year to reinforce and recognise the University’s on-going commitment to the advancement and promotion of women working in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Medicine and Mathematics) subjects in higher education and research.
The Athena SWAN Awareness Day, which took place at the University’s Canterbury campus, was launched by Professor Sarah Spurgeon, Head of the School of Engineering and Digital Arts.
This year’s event included a keynote address from Professor Beatrice Pelloni of the University of Reading which focussed on what Athena SWAN means for academic life and the daily routine of a mathematics department. A series of workshops for smaller group discussions were also included in the programme and covered work-life balance; how work is valued; career development planning for Professional Services staff; the Athena SWAN accreditation process, and taking a career break.
The University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dame Julia Goodfellow, also led a panel discussion accompanied by members of the Athena SWAN working group for academic women based at Kent.
Professor Mark Burchell, Dean of the Faculty of Sciences and Chair of the Athena SWAN Working Group stated: ‘We must continue to carefully reflect on the practices and processes that demonstrate our continuing commitment to fostering a culture at Kent that is truly supportive and inclusive for all staff and students.’
The University is waiting to hear the result of its application for the Athena SWAN bronze award, expected in late September. Bronze awards demonstrate that an institution as a whole has a solid foundation of policies and practices to eliminate gender bias and supports an inclusive culture that values all staff.