The Department of Sport and Physical Activity at Edge Hill has met the criteria to be receive the Athena Swan Bronze Award for its commitment to support and transform gender equality within higher education and research.

The bronze award reflects the department’s strong track record in championing gender equality, which it will now take forward to identify areas for positive action and share good practice.

The Athena Swan Charter is a global initiative that aims to transform gender equality across the higher education sector. Since its launch in 2005, the Charter has expanded to address gender equality more broadly and not only barriers that affect women.

This achievement marks the fourth departmental award granted to the University, with the departments of Psychology, Computer Science and the Faculty of Health, Social Care & Medicine all achieving bronze status over the past three years.

Edge Hill University gained its institutional bronze Athena Swan award in 2015; this was renewed in 2019 demonstrating its ongoing commitment to the advancement of gender equality, representation, progression and success for all.

Lars McNaughton, who led on the Department of Sport and Physical Activity’s application, said: “This is a wonderful milestone for the department to be recognised for its collective effort and commitment to supporting gender equality for all in sport. Securing the bronze Athena Swan award will help us to continue to build on this success and strengthen our commitment to increasing diversity over the next five years.”

Athena Swan awards are conferred by Advance HE, which works closely with colleges and universities to try to ensure that staff and students are not unfairly excluded, marginalised or disadvantaged because of age, disability, gender identity, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy or maternity status, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, or through any combination of these characteristics or other unfair treatment.

Edge Hill University has developed its equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) agenda over the past 12 months and has recently published its new EDI Strategy following the commissioning of Advanced HE’s research team to conduct a bespoke review of its policies.  The strategy outlines the University’s commitment to promoting EDI over the next five years.