The Equalities Challenge Unit have named Diamond Light Source amongst 100 intuitions and departments to be awarded Athena SWAN Bronze Award status in their latest round. The award, which recognises efforts to achieve gender equality in the workplace, comes at the end of an 18 month process for the organisation, which has involved and consulted staff at all levels.
Gender equality in STEM is a key issue for both academia and industry, with women making up only 14.4% of STEM workforce across the UK, while we face an annual engineering skills shortage of 40,000 employees per year. Increasing female participation in the STEM workforce, increasing representation at senior levels, and ensuring female staff are retained in the workplace, are key challenges to face in order to meet this gap and to increase the quality of the workforce as a whole. Since its inception, the ECU has issued more than 570 awards to 138 charter members, covering institutions across the UK. In this round, 100 awards were given from 158 submissions, demonstrating the high standards required to reach the award criteria.
Diamond has achieved a Bronze award, which demonstrates a commitment to understanding workplace issues and developing credible action plans to tackle workplace inequality. The achievement marks a commitment to ensure that our world leading centre continues to attract the best scientists and engineers from around the world.
Project manager Maura Launchbury, who has led the submission for Diamond says “This is a huge achievement for us – the commitment shown by staff at all levels, from the chief executive to technicians and students, to give their perspectives, ideas, and time to the process has been incredible. Diamond has the potential to set a leading standard for equality in the workplace, and we are so pleased and excited to see this milestone reached.”
Diamond will be working with our user, student and staff communities increasingly over the next few years to deliver the Athena SWAN action plan and works towards Silver award status.
As a high profile facility, Diamond has the opportunity to work not only with existing scientists and engineers, but also aspiring scientists at schools and universities, showcasing female role models and the diverse opportunities created for young people through STEM.