Leeds Beckett University is committed to gender equality and has been a member of the Athena SWAN charter for gender equality since June 2014. In May 2017 Leeds Beckett was awarded the Athena SWAN Bronze charter from the Equality Challenge Unit. The institutional award now enables schools to review gender equality and practice at local level in support of their own future submissions.
The Charter was established by the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU) in 2005 to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in the STEMM subjects (science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine), Athena Swan has been extended and broadened in its remit to include the arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law; professional and support roles, and trans staff and students. The charter recognises the work that Institutions do to address gender equality in relation to representation, student progression into academia, staff career progression and the working environment.
Achieving an Athena SWAN award has been found to have a hugely positive impact in relation to changing culture and attitudes, improvements in career satisfaction, creating opportunities for training and development, enhancing knowledge of promotion processes and achieving fairness in the allocation of workload. These benefits have been found to extend to men as well as women, and also to those working in administrative and technical roles.