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Equality and diversity

Athena Swan

Our Athena Swan Bronze Award shows our commitment at York St John University to supporting and transforming gender equality within higher education.

Two lecturers at the front of a lecture theatre smiling

The Athena Swan Charter is a framework which is used across the globe to support and transform gender equality within higher education (HE).

The Athena Swan Charter recognises the advancement of gender equality: representation, progression and success for all. The Athena Swan Charter covers women, men where appropriate and trans staff and students in academic roles in:

  • Science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM)
  • Arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL)

Read our commitment to the Athena Swan Charter principles in the drop-down menu. Find out more about the Athena Swan Charter on the Advance HE website.

In committing to the principles of the Athena Swan Charter, we recognise that we join a global community with a shared goal of addressing gender inequalities and embedding inclusive cultures.

Each institution, research institute and department has different gender equality challenges and development priorities. These priorities should be developed based on an understanding of the local evidence-base and national and global gender equality issues.

In determining our priorities and interventions, we commit to:

  1. Adopting robust, transparent and accountable processes for gender equality work, including:

    a. Embedding diversity, equity and inclusion in our culture, decision-making and partnerships, and holding ourselves and others in our institution/institute/department accountable.

    b. Undertaking evidence-based, transparent self-assessment processes to direct our priorities and interventions for gender equality, and evaluating our progress to inform our continuous development.

    c. Ensuring that gender equality work is distributed appropriately, is recognised and properly rewarded.

  2. Addressing structural inequalities and social injustices that manifest as differential experiences and outcomes for staff and students.

  3. Tackling behaviours and cultures that detract from the safety and collegiality of our work and study environments, including not tolerating gender-based violence, discrimination, bullying, harassment or exploitation.

  4. Understanding and addressing intersectional inequalities.

  5. Recognising that individuals can determine their own gender identity, and tackling the specific issues faced by trans and non-binary people.

  6. Examining gendered occupational segregation, and elevating the status, voice and career opportunities of any identified under-valued and at-risk groups.

  7. Mitigating the gendered impact of caring responsibilities and career breaks, and supporting flexibility and the maintenance of a healthy 'whole life balance'.

  8. Mitigating the gendered impact of short-term and casual contracts for staff seeking sustainable careers.

How Athena Swan aligns with our values

At York St John, our core value is to promote fairness and challenge prejudice. We aim to offer a welcoming and inclusive space for all. We are creating and maintaining an accessible, inclusive and fair working environment for our staff.

In adopting the Athena Swan Charter, we have developed an action plan to embed gender equality actions within our policies, practices, and culture. The action plan is ambitious and uses the Athena Swan Charter process as an important framework for change. This includes overt actions such as supporting women leadership programmes, as well as addressing hidden inequalities.

We are proud to have been recognised with the Athena Swan Bronze Award and our commitment to the Athena Swan Charter provides a valuable framework for benchmarking progress and setting out our ambitions for the next 5 years.

What we have done so far

We achieved the Athena Swan bronze award on International Women's Day 2022. You can download our full award submission below.

Athena SWAN submission (PDF, 2.1MB)

Our actions to date include:

  • Signing up to the transformed Athena Swan principles
  • Enhancing oversight of the institutional action plan through a Project Board and dedicated support from Strategy and Planning
  • Implementing a strategy to increase the proportion of female academics at Head of School and Professor level
  • Updating the language and imagery used in our job adverts to promote inclusivity and highlighting our inspiring women to attract more female candidates.
  • Launching a new and improved staff benefits platform ‘Your YSJ’ that includes more women and family friendly policies including support for breastfeeding and menopause
  • Developing employee case studies and promoting family friendly policies via the University’s website: Working at York St John
  • Securing funding to continue supporting female academics to access the Advance HE Aurora Programme
  • Delivering workshops to support female lecturers and senior lecturers through academic career progression, particularly via research.
  • Redesigning gym facilities to remove gender identity barriers
  • Improving breastfeeding facilities on campus
  • Publishing a guide to organise diverse events (staff intranet) to encourage greater gender balance among speakers 

We continue to address our Gender Pay Gap and recognise there is still work to be done in these areas.

Inspiring women

We aim to make sure that women from all backgrounds can access education and employment opportunities at York St John.

Hear from some of our exceptional female colleagues who want to inspire others to reach their own potential with us.

Inspiring women

Work-life balance

Our Your YSJ package of support includes a range of flexible working policies and specific support for parents, maternity leave, adoption, breastfeeding and more.

Hear from our staff about their work-life balance at York St John.

Work-life balance

What is next?

We are looking forward to further enhancing/embedding our work in this area in order to achieve the Silver Award in the re-application stage in a few years.

Contact us

Get in touch for more information about Athena Swan and our approach to advancing gender equality.


You can also find out about our wider approach to equality, diversion and inclusion on our Equality and diversity pages. 

Institutional leads

Related information

Staff sitting in seminar for International Women's Day 2020

Jobs at York St John

Entrance to Students' Union building

Diversity monitoring