An initiative of the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU), the 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.
The University of Edinburgh is one of 132 universities and research institutes which are members of the SWAN Charter. Edinburgh was the first Higher Education Institute in Scotland to receive a university-wide award under the scheme, and 17 schools and institutes across the University currently hold either bronze, silver or gold Athena SWAN awards.
The School of Social and Political Science received a Bronze Level Athena SWAN award in 2017. The redacted version of the application and action plan is available here.