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Equality & Diversity

Athena SWAN

The University is committed to the Athena Swan Charter Principles to promote gender equality at RGU and beyond.

What is Athena Swan?

The Athena Swan Charter recognises good practice in promoting gender equality in higher education. Established in 2005 to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths, and medicine (STEMM) employment, the charter is now being used across the globe to address gender equality more broadly, and not just barriers to progression that affect women.

In 2015, the charter was expanded to cover all subjects and to include a focus on professional and support staff, as well as recognition of issues faced by transgender people. In March 2020, an Independent Review of the UK Athena Swan Charter concluded with wide ranging recommendations to transform the charter to make it more relevant, flexible, and responsive to universities and departments’ needs.

The Transformed Athena Swan Charter

The Transformed Athena Swan Charter was launched on 30 June 2021, following extensive consultations with the sector. Key features of the new framework are:

  • Flexibility and autonomy for institutions and departments to focus on their own priorities.
  • Revised award criteria with clarified expectations.
  • A developmental approach, providing stronger support and feedback.
  • Reduced data reporting requirements that lessen administrative burden.

Further details: 

How is RGU involved with Athena Swan?

The university is committed to the Athena Swan Charter principles.

Case Study - Athena Swan Veronica Strachan Quote

Robert Gordon University is committed to embedding and mainstreaming equality, diversity, and inclusion across its functions. Athena Swan offers a valuable framework for introducing policy as well as cultural changes that create a better working environment not just for women but for people of all genders.
Veronica Strachan - University Secretary & Vice Principal Corporate Services

A 2019 impact assessment of the UK Athena Swan Charter found strong evidence that the charter has supported cultural and behavioural change – not just around gender equality, but equality and diversity in all its forms."

Using the Athena Swan application process gives universities and departments the space to reflect on and identify organisational and cultural practices that are inclusive and address barriers to gender equality as well as the opportunity to celebrate their progress and success towards equality and inclusion. Athena Swan awards demonstrate commitment to gender and wider equality and enhance the attractiveness of departments to prospective students and staff alike.

Universities and departments applying for Athena Swan awards carry out a self-assessment of gender issues in their context and identify actions to address key inequalities over a five-year period considering how intersectionality can be approached, and assessed, in policies, practices and culture.  To maintain awards, institutions need to show evidence of progress (for renewals at the same level) and success of previous actions (for higher awards).

Meet our self-assessment team

  • University Secretary and Vice Principal Corporate Services - Chair
  • HR Manager - Human Resources
  • Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Adviser - EDI Adviser
  • Lecturer - Sex Equality Action Group Rep
  • Programme Development Manager - Equality Champion (Sex)
  • Principal Lecturer - Equality Champion (Sex)
  • Principal Lecturer - Equality Champion (Pregnancy and Maternity)
  • Research Development Coordinator - Equality Champion (Pregnancy and Maternity)
  • Project Coordinator - Equality Champion (Sexual Orientation)
  • Internal Communications Officer - Equality Champion (Gender Reassignment)
  • Principal Lecturer - Equality Champion (Race)
  • Associate Professor - Equality Champion (Age)
  • Academic Strategic Lead - Staff Race Network (Chair)
  • President, Education and Welfare - RGU Union Rep
  • Head, Research Strategy Culture and Policy - Research Rep
  • Lecturer - Volunteer consultation participant
  • Associate Dean for Research - EDI Academic Lead, PALS
  • Executive Assistant (University Secretary and Vice Principal Corporate Services) - SAT Secretary
  • Senior Procurement Adviser - Chair, Disability Action Group

Get involved

The University is currently working towards a bronze award with the aim to submit mid-2024. We are running a series of events to engage with the University community so you can have the opportunity to hear about the process and contribute to our application.

application timeline

  • February 2024: Community consultations
  • Ongoing until March 2024: Self-assessment
  • 31 May 2024: Submission deadline


Contact us via if you have any queries or feedback about our submission.

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