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The Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine enjoys continued success by attracting the best staff and students from around the world, and providing them with the challenges, support, and career development opportunities they need to thrive. We are committed to the principles set within the Athena Swan charter and are very proud to hold the Athena Swan Silver Level Award. The University of Oxford was a founder member of the Athena Charter, and NDM has held a departmental award since 2013. We are continuously seeking to address inequality and put in place initiatives to create a better, more inclusive, working environment. We are committed to the success of our staff and students, and strive to create an environment in which we can all fully engage, develop and flourish.

Athena Swan silver award
NDM receiving the Silver level renewal award at the Athena Swan (AS) awards ceremony, 2018. NDM AS Chair, Philippa Matthews (pictured right) and Sue Wilson (pictured central)


The Athena Swan charter was first established in 2005 by the UK Equality Challenge Unit, which is now part of Advance HE. The charter was initially designed to recognise and celebrate commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM) institutions of higher education and research. In May 2015 the charter was expanded to recognise work undertaken in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL). The expansion allowed for specific recognition of professional and support roles, 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.

Members who sign up to the charter are expected to apply for an Athena Swan award, at Bronze, Silver or Gold level.


There is a basic moral case for gender equality, in that it is a fundamental human right to be treated fairly, with respect and dignity. Backing this is a legal framework, in the form of the Equality Act 2010. The strength of the business case for equality and inclusion can not be understated, with a plethora of research to back it. For example, research suggests that places of work that have diverse leadership within an inclusive environment tend to make better decisions. Bringing different experiences, knowledge and diversity of thought to an issue, project or task often results in improved creativity and a better solution. If your staff are represented and feel they have a voice, they feel valued and engaged and the potential for improved productivity is enhanced. Increasingly, employers recognise the importance of diversity and inclusion in recruiting and retaining the skills and talent they need to obtain/retain competitive edge. For an evidence review, you may wish to view Diversity and Inclusion at Work: Facing up to the business case (June 2018), provided by the CIPD.

The Athena Swan application process enables departments to reflect on, and celebrate, current organisational and cultural practices that promote gender equality. Athena Swan also offers a valuable framework for introducing sustainable cultural changes that create a better working environment for all. Athena Swan accreditation is an expectation by funders to demonstrate our commitment to diversity and inclusion.


Athena Swan 2018
Image provided by NDM Athena Swan Self-Assessment Team Chair, Philippa Matthews (2018)

We are continuously seeking to improve our policies and practices and embed equality in our day-to-day activities. To view information about initiatives and policies where the Athena SWAN principles underpin the operations of the Department, please see the Working for NDM pages. From there you can access a wide breadth of pages with details on topics such as: flexible working, parents and carers policies, women in science and career profile podcasts, mentoring and coaching, careers sessions and resources, training and development to name a few.

We are currently working from our Silver Athena Swan Award Action Plan to implement initiatives to enhance the department for all. Click on the additional links on the left hand side of this page for more information and guidance on our Athena Swan work.


You can contribute ideas and feedback in a number of ways, including by contacting your NDM EDI Committee, attending focus groups, completing surveys or by simply emailing the NDM EDI Facilitator.

If you are involved with any equality, diversity and inclusion initiatives, talks, events or research within the Department, please contact the NDM EDI Facilitator. We would love to hear from you! The NDM EDI Facilitator keeps a record of action taken​, tracks our progress against our targets and monitors impact from the work we do. In part this serves to adapt current initiatives, inform future action, as well as to strengthen our next Athena Swan application renewal.

Sources and further information: