We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Durham University Bronze Award

ECU’s Athena SWAN Charter was established in 2005 to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment in higher education and research.

In May 2015 the charter was expanded to recognise work undertaken in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL), and in professional and support roles, and for trans staff and students. The charter now recognises work undertaken to address gender equality more broadly, and not just barriers to progression that affect women.

Any university or research institute which is committed to the advancement and promotion of the careers of women in higher education and research can apply for membership.

The 10 key principles of the charter are:

1. We acknowledge that academia cannot reach its full potential unless it can benefit from the talents of all.

2. We commit to advancing gender equality in academia, in particular, addressing the loss of women across the career pipeline and the absence of women from senior academic, professional and support roles.

3. We commit to addressing unequal gender representation across academic disciplines and professional and support functions. In this we recognise disciplinary differences including:

  • the relative underrepresentation of women in senior roles in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL)
  • the particularly high loss rate of women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM)

4. We commit to tackling the gender pay gap.

5. We commit to removing the obstacles faced by women, in particular, at major points of career development and progression including the transition from PhD into a sustainable academic career.

6. We commit to addressing the negative consequences of using short-term contracts for the retention and progression of staff in academia, particularly women.

7. We commit to tackling the discriminatory treatment often experienced by trans people.

8. We acknowledge that advancing gender equality demands commitment and action from all levels of the organisation and in particular active leadership from those in senior roles.

9. We commit to making and mainstreaming sustainable structural and cultural changes to advance gender equality, recognising that initiatives and actions that support individuals alone will not sufficiently advance equality.

10. All individuals have identities shaped by several different factors. We commit to considering the intersection of gender and other factors wherever possible.


Athena SWAN awards recognise and celebrate good practice on recruiting, retaining and promoting women in higher education. There are two awards rounds each year – deadlines are the last working days in April and November.

Universities must achieve a Bronze award before individual departments can apply for recognition in their own right. The logic behind this is that it would be difficult, if not impossible, for a department to sustain an award without university support and underpinning university good practice policies and processes.

Lead by the Faculty of Science the University submitted a successful institutional Bronze Application in November 2011.

At Silver university level, a university must show a significant record of activity and achievement across the full range of disciplines, with a majority of departments holding individual awards.

Departments can apply for Bronze, Silver or Gold department awards. Award winners can use the appropriate Bronze, Silver or Gold logo in their recruitment and publicity materials. We can help you make your application and guidance is available on the Award Submission page.

Awards are valid for four years, after which they must be renewed. Renewal of an award would be difficult to achieve without demonstrable progress having been made.

Athena Swan