Equality Marks

Athena Swan

  • The Athena SWAN Charter recognises work undertaken to address gender equality in the higher education sector.
  • The charter has been broadened from its initial scope for advancing academic careers of women to gender equality for all staff and wider student population.
  • The charter looks into gender gaps on student progression between undergraduate to postgraduate levels and the pipeline into academic career.
  • It includes aspects such as support for trans students and childcare provision for student parents.

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Race Equality Charter

  • Advance HE's Race Equality Charter (REC) aims to improve the representation, progression and success of minority ethnic staff and students within higher education.
  • The REC provides a framework through which institutions work to identify and self-reflect on institutional and cultural barriers standing in the way of minority ethnic staff and students. Member institutions develop initiatives and solutions for action, and can apply for an award accreditation.

  • It is paramount for any leading global university like ours to attract and retain top talent. This can only be made possible if we nurture an environment for individuals from all backgrounds to thrive and excel. Such a culture of inclusivity is central to the University’s core values.

  • Birmingham was England’s first civic university where students from all religions and backgrounds were accepted on an equal basis. We were among the first to appoint female professors at a British University. And now, we are sending a clear message of our commitment on race equality by being one of the awarded member institutions of the REC.

  • Provost and Vice-Principal, Professor Tim Jones, Chair of the REC Steering Group states “Birmingham has been making an impact on people’s lives for more than a century. We can only achieve our full potential by continuing to break the glass ceiling for individuals from all ethnic backgrounds”. 

  • Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education), Professor Kathy Armour, added “Diversity is at the core of our University. It is in our diverse community of staff and students that knowledge, innovation, creativity and impact are developed”.

  • The University’s Equality Scheme 2016-20 states that removing barriers that prevent members of our community, including students and staff, reaching their full potential is crucial to our pursuit of excellence and our aim of unlocking talent. This is one of the drivers for participating in the REC to help address issues of under-representation. 

  • The University received the REC Bronze Award in June 2020.

The five principles of the REC

  • Racial inequalities are a significant issue within higher education. Racial inequalities are not necessarily overt, isolated incidents. Racism is an everyday facet of UK society and racial inequalities manifest themselves in everyday situations, processes and behaviours.
  • UK higher education cannot reach its full potential unless it can benefit from the talents of the whole population and until individuals from all ethnic backgrounds can benefit equally from the opportunities it affords.
  • In developing solutions to racial inequalities, it is important that they are aimed at achieving long-term institutional culture change, avoiding a deficit model where solutions are aimed at changing the individual.
  • Minority ethnic staff and students are not a homogenous group. People from different ethnic backgrounds have different experiences of and outcomes from/within higher education, and that complexity needs to be considered in analysing data and developing actions.
  • All individuals have multiple identities, and the intersection of those different identities should be considered wherever possible.

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If you have any comments, queries, or feedback on this page, don't hesitate to email us at studentequality@contacts.bham.ac.uk 


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