Equality and Diversity

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 attained the Athena Swan Silver Award in April 2015, and retained this status in 2018 following our application for Gold Award which includes extensive documentation on our activities aimed at promoting and supporting equality and diversity within the department.

The department's submission for 2018 can be viewed here and the 2015 submission can be viewed here

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.

The new Athena SWAN principles that institutions must adopt within their policies, practices, action plans and culture include:

1. We commit to advancing gender equality in academia, in particular, addressing the loss of women across the career pipeline and the absence of women from senior academic, professional and support roles.

2. We commit to addressing unequal gender representation across academic disciplines and professional and support functions. We recognise disciplinary differences including:

The relative under representation of women in senior roles in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL)
The particularly high loss rate of women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM)

3. We commit to tackling the gender pay gap.

4. We commit to removing the obstacles faced by women, in particular at major points of career development and progression including the transition from PhD into a sustainable academic career.

5. We commit to addressing the negative consequences of using short-term contracts for the retention and progression of staff in academia, particularly women.

6. We commit to tackling the discriminatory treatment often experienced by transgender people.

7. We acknowledge that advancing gender equality demands commitment and action from all levels of the organisation and in particular active leadership from those in senior roles.

8. We commit to making and mainstreaming sustainable structural and cultural changes to advance gender equality, recognising that initiatives and actions that support individuals alone will not sufficiently advance equality.

9. All individuals have identities shaped by several different factors. We commit to considering the intersection of gender and other factors wherever possible.

10. All individuals have identities shaped by several different factors. We commit to considering the intersection of gender and other factors wherever possible.

Institute of Physics Juno Champion Status

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 2016