Equality and Diversity

The Physics department is committed to equal and fair treatment of all its employees. Since 2010, the department has been developing a portfolio of new and existing actions to improve the employment conditions and practice for all staff and students. These actions are in line with the University of Oxford’s Equality and Diversity policy. Good practice benefits everyone, but disproportionately benefits women. Physics has long been a male-dominated subject. To fulfill the department’s scientific mission, it is vital that we use the full potential of the population and redress that imbalance.

In recognition of our commitment, the department gained an Athena SWAN Silver Award in April 2015. The department's submission for the award can be seen here 2014 Athena SWAN Silver Submission. It includes extensive documentation on our activities aimed at promoting and supporting women in the department.

The Athena SWAN actions fall under the remit of the department’s Equality and Diversity committee that consider all aspects of the departmental policy on this issue.

In June 2016 the department was awarded the Institute of Physics Juno Champion Status in recognition of the excellent practice within the department to embed the Juno Principles:

1. A robust organisational framework to deliver equality of opportunity and reward
2. Appointment and selection processes and procedures that encourage men and women to apply for academic posts at all levels
3. Departmental structures and systems which support and encourage the career progression and promotion of all staff and enable men and women to progress and continue in their careers
4. Departmental organisation, structure, management arrangements and culture that are open, inclusive and transparent and encourage the participation of all staff
5. Flexible approaches and provisions that enable individuals, at all career and life stages, to optimise their contribution to their department, institution and to SET

More information on the Juno Principles can be found here on the IoP webiste

Group photo at the Conference of Undergraduate Women in Physics 2016Group photo at the Conference of Undergraduate Women in Physics 2016

Shown below is a plot from our Athena SWAN Silver Application, showing the so-called 'progression pipeline' for women in the department and how it has changed since our previous application in 2012. At the most senior end of the pipeline the percentage of female professors in the department is now 16%, significantly higher than the national average. The percentages of female undergraduates has dropped slightly in recent years but there is good news from the most recent application round (for entry October 2015) where 22% of the successful applicants were women.