Advance HE (previously the Equality Challenge Unit) have named Diamond Light Source amongst 109 intuitions and departments to be awarded Athena SWAN Bronze award in their latest round. The award, which recognises efforts to achieve equality in the workplace, is the result of a highly collaborative process which has involved and consulted with diverse 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. In this round, 109 awards were conferred from the 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:
I am so proud of the huge commitment and effort from the project team at all levels at all levels of seniority who assembled all the evidence required to meet this demanding standard. It was a huge achievement for us, and I am very pleased and excited to see these efforts rewarded. Now we aim for the Silver Award!
Diamond will continue to work with our student and staff communities over the next five years to deliver our Athena SWAN action plan and work towards Silver award status.
As a high-profile facility, Diamond has been working not only with existing scientists and engineers, but also with aspiring scientists in diverse populations at schools and universities, showcasing female and male role models and the diverse opportunities created for young people through STEM in Diamond and beyond.
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager at Diamond, Julie Kaya concludes:
I am delighted that the significant efforts and hard work of a whole team of dedicated people has borne fruit and our efforts have been recognised, despite the many challenges we have faced in data collection. I’ve been inspired by how hard everyone has worked and am grateful in particular to those senior staff who have been terrific role models throughout, supporting staff, attending meetings and lending their enthusiasm. We can’t wait to get stuck into the action plan and continue to move the dial on inclusion and equality.
Diamond’s CEO Andrew Harrison and Champion for the bid concurred:
I am adding my heartfelt thanks to the many people who had contributed to this achievement. This award will help Diamond focus and carry out actions to make it a more inclusive place to work, and better able to attract and develop the diverse range of talented people who are critical to its success.
Diamond Light Source is the UK's national synchrotron science facility, located at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire.
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