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You are here:   Home  »  About Us  »  Athena SWAN

Athena SWAN

Athena Swan Silver Award.

The NIHR Leicester Respiratory BRU is part of the department of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation at the University of Leicester. The department is committed to supporting women in science.  In 2016 the department was awarded a Silver Departmental Athena SWAN award. 

What is Athena SWAN?

Athena SWAN is a charter scheme launched in 2005, which recognises a Higher Education institute’s commitment to the advancement and support of women’s careers in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEM) subjects.  It aims to redress the under-representation of women in scientific disciplines.

There are three main beliefs which underpin the Charter:

  • The advancement of science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine 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

You can visit the National Athena SWAN website here:


Why is this important?

Utilising the talent of only half the population means that the University will miss out on key ideas and research, which would not only benefit the University, but the wider society.  Athena SWAN helps to identify ‘leak points’, i.e. where women are lost on the academic career path.  Through identifying and rectifying these leak points, more women would enter and progress along the academic career path, making vital contributions to STEM research, which may otherwise not have happened.

How does this affect the department?

The Athena Swan Silver Award recognises the work to improve the participation of women in STEM subjects within the department.

We want to remove all barriers to both men and women that exist as a consequence of their gender.  Through the Athena SWAN process, we create and solidify good practice, which benefits both women and men within the department.

How can I get involved?

The department has an Athena SWAN Steering Group.  If you are interested in speaking to the department’s Athena SWAN steering group about what you can do to help or to find out more information, please contact the Athena SWAN Coordinator via the contact page.