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Athena Swan is a UK-wide initiative set up in 2005 to promote gender equality and advance the representation of women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM). It evolved from the work of the Athena Project and the Scientific Women’s Academic Network (SWAN), which resulted in the development of the Athena Swan Charter, supported by the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU).

In 2015, the charter was expanded to recognise work undertaken in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law, and in professional and support roles, and for trans staff and students. The charter now recognises work undertaken to address gender equality more broadly, and not just barriers to progression that affect women.

In 2021, Athena Swan, which is now run by Advance HE underwent a further transformation to ensure that the charter is inclusive and accessible, with a greater focus on intersectional characteristics.


RDM was awarded a Silver Athena Swan award in April 2016 and again in 2019.

These Silver awards are in recognition that we are working on a number of fronts to improve recruitment, induction, career development, support for carers, and creating a supportive, friendly and open workplace culture. Our focus is to make RDM an exceptional place to work and study.

RDM commits to the principles of the Athena Swan charter.


The SAT co-ordinated the 2015 successful application for an Athena Swan Silver Award and in April 2019 submitted their second successful silver application. As part of the 2021, Advance HE transformation of Athena Swan, the action plans now run over a five year period.

The updated version of RDM action plan, along with working group updates from the last two years (2019-2021) is available here.