University of York recognised for advancing the careers of female scientists

07th May 2019

University of York recognised for advancing the careers of female scientists

The University of York's support of women in science has been recognised with the renewal of a prestigious award.

The university’s departments of chemistry and biology have had their Athena SWAN gold award renewed for a further three years. The award recognises a commitment to advancing the careers of women in STEMM (science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine) employment in higher education and research.


The chemistry department was the first in the UK to get a gold in 2007 and, after this third renewal, is the only department in the country to keep a gold level for this length of time.

Head of department, Professor Duncan Bruce, said: “This new gold award recognises our long-term commitment to supporting the careers of women in chemistry and challenges us to continue to embrace diversity in its widest sense in the future.

“It reflects the innovative policies and practices that have been developed here, for example in the areas of flexible and part-time working schemes and supportive parental leave structures.

“Over many years, the department has achieved a vibrant and open culture, where equality, diversity and inclusion are an accepted part of everyday life, providing a setting where the careers of individuals can flourish, regardless of who they are.”

York’s biology department first received an Athena SWAN silver award in 2006.

In 2014, it earned a gold award, becoming the first biology department in the UK to reach this level. The university also holds an institutional bronze award, which has also been renewed.

Head of biology, Professor Jennifer Potts, said: “Our approach is transparent and inclusive.

“Poor working practices disproportionately discriminate against women, whilst good practices benefit all.

“We are committed to promoting, celebrating and raising awareness of equality and diversity issues and acknowledge that academia cannot reach its full potential unless it can benefit from the talents of all.”

For the full story please see the York Press website.