The National Oceanography Centre has joined a national charter to promote the recruitment, retention and career progression of women.
NOC becomes the 115th member of the Athena SWAN Charter, which was set up to tackle the unequal representation of women in science, technology, engineering, medicine and mathematics (STEMM) in higher education and research.
The Charter recognises good employment practice for women working in these fields and sets out objectives to tackle issues such as lack of women in senior roles, high loss rate of women in science and barriers to career progression. It also offers the opportunity for organisations to attain bronze, silver or gold awards once specific milestones have been reached.
Joining the Charter shows a formal commitment by NOC to promote equality and diversity in the workplace, which is increasingly required by research funding organisations. A cross-NOC self-assessment team has been set up to gather relevant data to help analyse the current situation and develop an action plan to address areas for improvement.
Ocean scientist, Dr Elaine McDonagh, who is a member of the self-assessment team, welcomed the move and said “We joined the Athena SWAN Charter as soon as Research Centres became eligible and we already have an active SAT. It makes a very positive statement about our organisation's commitment to gender equality.”
Head of People & Skills at NOC, Jon Ward, added “Joining Athena SWAN gives our organisation the ideal opportunity to formalise and embed existing good practice, plus increase awareness of career progression issues affecting both female and male staff. It also highlights the areas we can continue to build on to attract and develop the best female scientists and engineers in the field and maintain our status as a world-leading organisation.”
Launched in 2005, the Athena SWAN Charter evolved from work between the Athena Project and the Scientific Women’s Academic Network (SWAN) to advance the representation of women in STEMM subjects.