Informatics awarded the Athena Swan Silver Award

[18/04/2024] The School has been awarded the Athena Swan Silver Award; it was announced in March this year. The Athena Swan charter is a framework used to address gender equality and recognises a commitment to breaking down barriers to progression that affect people based on their gender. The School celebrated the achievement on 17th April.

The award is a result of a lengthy and complex application process. Stuart Anderson and Nadin Kokciyan led on preparation of the submission and were supported by members of the Self-Assessment Team: Emma Allen, Liita Cairney, Lucy Havens, Wietske Holwerda, Patrick Hudson, Ohad Kammar, Victoria Lindstrom and Sophie Mills. 

A group of six people, mixed-genders, smiling
Informatics Athena Swan self-assessment team with Prof Helen Hastie, the Head of School of Informatics

Three elements of the School of Informatics submission were commended by the awarding panel. 

The ‘Living Together as Equals’ course which all incoming students will be auto enrolled on. The informatics-specific content has been developed over the past 10 months that introduces the issue of unequal access to Computer Science (CS) education before Uni, the impact this has on students’ experiences of studying Informatics (focusing on those underrepresented in the field) and the implications for post-Uni endeavours and wider society. 

The School’s support for the Edinburgh Hoppers was praised as well. Edinburgh Hoppers is the official society for women, non-binary, and transgender people in the School of Informatics of the University of Edinburgh. Hoppers was created in 2005 by a group of female teaching staff to empower the women working or studying in the field. It transformed over the years and its current goal is to cultivate an open community to provide a supportive and inclusive society where people are comfortable and can build both technical and networking skills to thrive in the tech environment. 

Finally, the panel acknowledged the disaggregation and analysis of the culture survey data by sex and contract function.  

The Athena Swan Charter is a framework used across the world to support and transform gender equality within higher education and research. It encourages and recognises commitments to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, math, and medicine employment. It was originally set up in 2005 to address barriers to career progression faced by women, but now it approaches gender equality more broadly and tackles intersectional inequalities. 

Related links

Link to the Athena Swan Charter