Silver gender equality award for University of Reading Technical Services
The University’s Technical Services team is celebrating after becoming the first professional services team in the country to gain a national charter mark for its commitment to gender equality.
The team was awarded a Silver Athena Swan mark by Advance HE this month after changes to the Athena Swan Charter in 2022 made professional services teams eligible for recognition.
Achieving Silver represents a high level of engagement and progress in reducing the barriers to gender equality, including consideration, for Technical Services, of how gender equality intersects with race.
Dr Karen Henderson, Director of Technical Services, with the Self-Assessment Team worked with colleagues across the function to showcase a commitment to gender equality in a submission to the judges.
Since the team’s formation in 2016, the proportion of female technicians in Technical Services has risen from 37% to 44%, and the proportion of staff of minoritised ethnicities has increased from 12% to 24%.
The University was a founding signatory of the UK-wide Technician Commitment Charter in 2017. The team offers trainee and apprenticeship programmes to nurture new skills and train the technicians of the future.
Dr Henderson said: “To go for a Silver award in our first application was ambitious, but the hard work of colleagues across the team has paid off.
“We still have much to do. We want to further improve our gender and ethnicity representation, particularly at senior levels. We also intend to reach out and make the technical career more visible to encourage people from Reading’s local diverse communities to apply to work with us.
“By making these efforts, we aim to create a workplace that is underpinned by equity and fairness to all.”