My Week - 16 October 2013

Professor Dawn Freshwater, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Organisational Effectiveness talks about our Athena SWAN awards and related initiatives and events.

Professor Dawn Freshwater
Hot on the heels of our previous Athena SWAN successes, it was very pleasing to learn that both the School of Medicine and the Faculty of Engineering have now joined the Faculty of Mathematics & Physical Sciences and the School of Healthcare, and each been awarded Bronze level awards to add our collection. This is great news and edges us closer to our goal of achieving a Silver award for Leeds.

It is an appropriate time to thank former Dean of Environment Professor Jane Francis. Jane has now left the University to take up a post as of the new Director of the British Antarctic Survey, but during her time at Leeds she chaired the Athena SWAN steering group for five years and contributed enormously to progress we have made and are making.

I would also like to mention the Women in Leadership Initiative, set up to actively support the White Rose Universities – Leeds, Sheffield and York – in addressing gender inequality at the most senior levels. The initiative has established a thriving network of women working across these Universities in all disciplines in academic, managerial and technical areas.  Meanwhile, the Athena SWAN team continues to work across all faculties and services with the aim of embedding the principles across the whole of the University.

This week I’m also pleased to be recommending the new Equality and Inclusion framework to Senate. The culmination of two years’ consultation and development – led primarily by the Equality Service and with strategic direction from the Equality and Diversity Committee – this outlines the four key priorities captured within the new Equality and Inclusion Strategy

I’ll be attending the 2013 Women of Achievement event which takes place this Thursday. It will recognise and appreciate ten female colleagues and students – in both academic and professional roles in the University – who have made recent headlines in their field. This is the second year we have held this event, and I’m really looking forward to meeting all the women involved and celebrating their achievements. Our leadership in this aspect of our Inclusion framework is now receiving international attention and will be recognised at the Global Higher Education East Asia Inclusive Leadership dialogue in Hong Kong next February.

This is a good opportunity to remind female colleagues about the University’s WiSET network. As part of the University’s support for women in science, engineering and technology (SET) – academic, research and technical staff and postgraduate students – WiSET has two key strands:

 - the First Tuesday Club, a regular monthly network meeting with female colleagues from across disciplines, including invited speakers to offer advice, support and share their experiences of career development
- an e-mail network which allows circulation of information on forthcoming First Tuesday meetings, as well as any other information which might be of interest or value to members of the network.

Finally, I’d like to mention the Gender Equality Charter Mark which will be launched in autumn next year. This charter mark will actively support the University’s expansion of gender equality principles to arts, humanities and social sciences, and will cover all academic, professional and support staff. 


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