Athena SWAN

The Athena SWAN charter accredits institutions and their departments, in recognition of their commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment in higher education and research. Its founding principles are:

  • The advancement of Science, Engineering and Technology is fundamental to quality of life across the globe.
  • It is vitally important that women are adequately represented in what has traditionally been, and is still, a male-dominated area.
  • Science cannot reach its full potential unless it can benefit from the talents of the whole population, and until women and men can benefit equally from the opportunities it affords.

The University is a proud member of the Athena SWAN Charter and has held a Bronze institutional award since November 2011. All departments at Exeter are committed to holding an Athena SWAN award. The Bronze Award recognises a department or institution’s achievements in progressing gender equality with their organisation, together with a commitment to future improvement. An Athena SWAN Silver award is granted in recognition of the positive impact of actions that a department or institute has undertaken to encourage the recruitment, retention and promotion of women in their organisation. We are delighted that all five CLES departments have achieved Bronze or Silver status, and they are all working towards their Silver. You can view our awards and applications below. 

CLES DepartmentAward LevelDate AwardedApplication
Biosciences (Streatham) Bronze April 2015 View Biosciences' Athena SWAN application here
Geography (Streatham) Bronze April 2015 View Geography's Athena SWAN application here
Sport and Health Sciences Silver April 2014 View Sport and Health Sciences Athena SWAN application here
Psychology Bronze November 2014 View Psychology's Bronze Athena SWAN application here
Psychology Silver November 2015 View Psychology's Silver Athena SWAN application here
CLES Cornwall Silver November 2014
(Renewed November 2018)
View CLES Cornwall's Silver Athena SWAN application here

The CLES Athena SWAN Discipline Leads chair each of the CLES Department's working groups which work towards achieving an Athena SWAN Accreditation, as well as addressing other equality, diversity, and inclusivity concerns within their departments.

DisciplineContactDepartmental Working Group Name
Geography (Streatham) Professor Jo Little Geography's Equality and Diversity Committee
Biosciences (Streatham) Dr Andrew Griffiths Biosciences Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee
Sports and Health Sciences Dr Sharon Dixon and Garrick Taylor SHS Athena SWAN Working Group
Psychology Dr Safi Darden and Dr Joseph Sweetman Psychology Athena SWAN Working Group
CLES Cornwall Professor Annette Broderick CLES Cornwall Athena SWAN Working Group
Equality Diversity Inclusion Advisor  Beth Pitcher Supports the CLES Cornwall Athena SWAN Working Group

CLES Inclusivity Representative:

Dr Sharon Dixon is the new CLES Inclusivity Representative (appointed July 2016), and will be acting as the main point of contact for inclusivity concerns across CLES, feeding these back at the termly University Inclusivity meeting.

CLES Equality and Diversity Representatives

Biosciences (Streatham) Dagmara Kolak
Biosciences (Streatham) Eduarda Santos
Biosciences (Streatham) Andrew Griffiths
Geography (Streatham) Ian Cook
Sport and Health Sciences Sharon Dixon
Psychology Safi Darden
CLES Cornwall Gail Reeves

You can find out more about equality and diversity representatives roles and the representatives for other colleges.

The University is committed to supporting its staff and students. Please see the links below for relevant policies, support or training opportunities:



Mailing lists:

Signing up to the following mailing lists is useful for keeping up to date with current research, events, best practice and policies relating to Equality and Diversity and Athena SWAN.

Athena SWAN JISC mailing list

The Athena SWAN’s JISC mailing list is useful for both learning from and informing individuals and institutions involved in the Athena SWAN Process about the research, events, and initiatives your Department and/or your Institution has been involved in. You can subscribe via emailing the Athena SWAN team.

Equality Link 

The Equality Challenge Unit’s Equality Link newsletter: Equalitylink - This is a monthly round-up of equality and diversity news, resources and ECU’s work with the sector. You can subscribe here

Geography specific

For Geographers, you can also sign up to the Geographer’s Athena SWAN Jisc mailing list. You can subscribe here

Equality: Government

Subscribing to the Gov.UK Equality Policy email alerts gives you regular updates to national changes in policy and information on ‘what the government’s doing about equality’. You can subscribe here.

Women in Science and Engineering (WISE):

Sign up to getSET, the monthly newsletter from WISE.

Newsletters and Blogs:

Athena SWAN

CLES guidelines for the support of staff taking maternity, maternity support/paternity, adoption, parental or carer related leave:

Psychology Athena SWAN Guidelines for the arrangement of pop-up nurseries for events outside of core hours

Outreach Activities

Creating Cultural Change:


Gender equality in STEM articles:

Rethinking Language and Visual Representations

Gender in Recruitment

Unconscious bias:

The 'One Step Beyond' Mentoring Scheme is a cross-College scheme, open to both research and academic staff in College of Life and Environmental Sciences (CLES) and College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences (CEMPS). Participating in the scheme is an entirely voluntary, but formal, arrangement whereby an experienced individual, outside the reporting relationship, holds either one-off or regular meetings to support the development of a less experienced member of staff.

Mentees can approach a mentor directly utilising the online mentor database or be matched with a mentor. All mentoring relationships are established through liaison with the mentor, for a frequency and duration which suits both individuals. Our members can also post questions or requests for mentoring about a range of or specific issue(s) in an online forum, which all members of the scheme: mentors and mentees, can view and respond to. Read more »