Group meeting

Working towards gender equality

Discover what we're doing to promote gender equality at the University

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. 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 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.

Athena Swan Bronze Award Logo

Promoting gender equality as an employer

Staff training

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

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.

Student headshot

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 in meeting
Staff mentoring programme

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.

Staff mentoring

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.

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.

Gender equality support and resources for students

Local groups and support services

Below is a selection of the local groups and support services that work on gender-related issues.

Celebrating inclusivity

Annual Athena Swan 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.

Staff in conference

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

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.

The University of Portsmouth is committed to providing an inclusive environment for all staff and students and promoting an intersectional approach to equality, diversity and inclusion (ED&I). This Gender Equality Plan (GEP) stands in conjunction with the range of University policies, guidance, reports and action plans concerning gender equality. Find out more about dedicated gender equality resources, data collection and monitoring, and training as a mandatory requirement for Horizon Europe.
Gender Equality Plan (GEP)

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.

Related news

See all related news on gender equality at the University.