Gender Equality and Athena Swan
Structure and governance
We want all our staff and students to thrive in an inclusive environment without barriers relating to gender.
We’ve been a member of the Athena Swan Charter since 2011, and have held the Athena Swan Bronze Award since 2014. In 2022, we're applying for promotion to Silver. Athena Swan is a national charter recognising the advancement of gender equality in higher education, encompassing representation, progression and success for all.
Our membership of the Athena Swan Charter demonstrates our commitment to tackling gender inequality for staff and students, through long-term institutional culture change. As well as our University Bronze Award, many of our schools, departments and faculties have achieved Athena Swan awards for their work towards gender equality.
If you have questions about our membership of the Athena Swan Equality Charter, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Pro-Vice Chancellor for Global Engagement, Chris Chang, is our acting Gender Equality Champion, supported by co-chairs Liza Howe-Walsh and Jane Chandler.
Faculty and department awards
Many of our academic faculties and departments uphold their own commitments to gender equality, alongside contributing to the wider aims of the University. The following departments all hold Athena Swan Bronze Awards in recognition of their work addressing gender equality in the department and in their fields.
- Faculty of Business and Law
- School of Biological Sciences
- Department of Psychology
- School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences
- School of Sport Health and Exercise Science
- School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
- School of the Environment, Geography and Geosciences
- School of Mathematics and Physics
- School of Creative Technologies
- School of Computing
- School of Architecture
- Dental Academy
- Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation
Promoting gender equality as an employer
We've set up the Athena Swan Champions Fund to support projects, initiatives and activities that encourage gender equality. Staff can apply for funding if their project supports aims set out in the Athena Swan extended principles. The Fund has previously contributed to our annual Athena Swan conference, a bullying and harassment action inquiry run by our Organisation and Culture working group (facilitated by Changing University Cultures), and the Inspirational Women Of Portsmouth 2021 Awards campaign.
We're committed to tackling all forms of bullying and harassment, including gender-based harassment. We ask all our staff to stand by our Dignity and Respect policy, but if they experience bullying or harassment, our advisors can offer support and explain their options for addressing and/or reporting the incident.
Our Staff Networks are run by and for staff. Through the networks, our staff use their voice to inform and promote University policy.
Those involved in the networks share guidance and resources, and propose and decide on actions to improve our University culture.
All our networks are strengthened by a commitment to addressing gender-based inequality.
Our Staff Networks include:
- LGBTQ Staff network
- Women's Staff Network
- Parent and Carer Staff Network
- Disability Staff Network
- Multicultural Staff Network
- Neurodiverse Staff Network
- Race Equality Supporters Network
As part of our probationary training, all staff take part in training on diversity and inclusion, unconscious bias awareness, and anti-bullying and harassment. We also provide optional training for staff who want further support to succeed in their personal and professional life.Staff can discover training here
Springboard and Navigator are three-month development programmes that encourage staff to examine their home and work life, and identify practical and realistic steps to fulfil their potential and reach their goals. Springboard is designed for women, and those who identify as women, and Navigator is designed for men, and those who identify as men.
Aurora is a development initiative for women, and those who identify as women to explore leadership and management roles in Higher Education. Staff are supported to fulfil their leadership potential via thought-provoking activities, collaborative problem-solving activities and motivational stories of inspirational women role models.
Staff can sign up to be a mentee or a mentor in our University-wide programme that helps develop skills, increase knowledge and understanding of the University and HE sector, and build resilience to better respond to transition and change.
Supporting women in business
Only one in three UK entrepreneurs is female, and women-led businesses are only 44% of the size of male-led businesses (Alison Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship, 2019). Our Faculty of Business and Law (which holds its own Athena Swan Bronze Award) is working to change this by advancing women's careers and addressing gender equality in business.
Through the AWE project, we're working with a network of organisations in England and France to research and deliver support to women entrepreneurs, and address the gender entrepreneurship imbalance through training and mentoring. As part of the project, we facilitate small group training programmes for women running their own businesses, or thinking of doing so. The programme also trains mentors to pass on their skills and experience to other women, helping them address barriers to entrepreneurship.
Women business owners can join our Female Entrepreneurs Network to connect with other entrepreneurs across the South and learn from other business owners. We hold regular, free events featuring inspiring speakers, and run a private Facebook group for female entrepreneurs to connect.
Supporting gender equality in research
In our submission to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, 33% of our research staff identified as women. In our REF 2021 submission, this has grown to 39.6%. We're committed to increasing the representation of women in research through our Athena Swan action plan.
Women researchers play a leading role in driving our ambitions. Through their work, they're carving out new knowledge in science, the humanities, technology, the arts and business. As part of our commitment to the Athena Swan Charter principles, we're working to remove the obstacles faced by women at major points of career development and progression, by supporting their progress to senior academic roles.
Our academics working in the area of 'Women's and Gender Studies' focus on past and present issues in various social and cultural contexts. Highlights include research into white feminist racism, British women's political history and gendered alcohol consumption.
Our researchers in the area of 'Gender, Race and Education' explore subtle forms of discrimination to find ways of encouraging and developing a fairer, more equal world. Highlights include research into the regulation of pregnancy in Mozambican schools, the experience of daughters of single mothers in the UK and the experience of traveller children in schools.
Gender equality support and resources for students
Our students can access advice on how to identify employers and organisations that promote gender-based inclusivity and diversity in the workplace. We have a gender-specific employment guide for students looking for opportunities, support organisations and networks relating to gender inclusivity. We also have a guide on transgender identity employment, with support to find LGBT-inclusive employers and advice on talking about your gender identity during the application process.
The Students' Union has many societies that offer safe spaces for students to make friends, attend events and run campaigns, such as the LGBT+ Society and the Feminist Society. We commit to promoting and supporting events and campaigns run by the Students' Union, such as Pride Night and the 2021 Women in Leadership conference.
Our annual Athena Swan Conference is open to all staff and focuses on gender equality and diversity at the University. At the conference, staff can get information about initiatives in progress and talk about their lived experiences and intersectionality.
Previous speakers have included Dr Deborah Gabriel, founder and director of Black British Academics, Dr Jay Stewart, CEO and co-founder of Gendered Intelligence, Daniel Guinness, founder and chair of Good Lad Initiative and Dr Anna Bull, co-founder of The 1752 Group.
Official policies and objectives
Below is a list of our policies and objectives that relate to gender equality. Can't find what you're looking for? Search all our policies and standards or contact our Equality and Diversity team at email@example.com.
Family friendly policies
Our Athena Swan Core Group and Self-Assessment Team ensure staff can access family-friendly entitlements.
Maternity, paternity and parental leave
All women are entitled to a maximum of 52 weeks maternity leave after giving birth (no matter how long they've been employed at the University). After adoption, one parent can also take up to 52 weeks leave. Maternity pay depends on length of service, up to a maximum of 39 weeks full pay.
A second parent is entitled to up to two consecutive working weeks paid leave (after 26 weeks continuous employment at the University). Parents can share parental leave if the parent taking maternity or adoptive leave returns to work before the end of the 52 weeks.
Flexible working and time-off to look after dependants
We also support time off to deal with unexpected emergencies with dependants. And we offer employees the right to request flexible working, which could include working from home, flexi-time, compressed hours and working part-time.
Reporting bullying and harassment
Our Dignity and Respect policy asks all students and staff to take personal responsibility for reporting:
- any incidents where dignity and respect is not demonstrated
- incidents of bullying and harassment
- any form of discrimination that they are aware of
Report and Support tool
Staff and students can use the Report and Support tool to submit an anonymous report of bullying, harassment, assault or a hate crime, or an informal report to request an adviser.
If you witness or experience any form of harassment, bullying, violence or discrimination at Portsmouth, you can submit an anonymous report or an informal report to request an adviser. We also have a formal complaints procedure for all staff and students.