Athena SWAN at the School of Mathematics

The LMS Good Practise Scheme logo

The Athena SWAN Charter is a scheme which recognises excellence in Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) employment in higher education.

The beliefs underpinning the Charter are:

  • The advancement of science, engineering and technology (SET) is fundamental to quality of life across the globe.
  • It is vitally important that women are adequately represented in what has traditionally been, and is still, a male-dominated area.
  • Science cannot reach its full potential unless it can benefit from the talents of the whole population, and until women and men can benefit equally from the opportunities it affords.

Any university or research institution which is committed to the advancement and promotion of the careers of women in SET in higher education and research can apply for membership.

As a recipient of a Bronze award, the School of Mathematics commits to supporting the six Athena SWAN Principles:

  1. To address gender inequalities requires commitment and action from everyone, at all levels of the organisation.
  2. To tackle the unequal representation of women in science requires changing cultures and attitudes across the organisation.
  3. The absence of diversity at management and policy-making levels has broad implications which the organisation will examine.
  4. The high loss rate of women in science is an urgent concern which the organisation will address.
  5. The system of short-term contracts has particularly negative consequences for the retention and progression of women in science, which the organisation recognises.
  6. There are both personal and structural obstacles to women making the transition from PhD into a sustainable academic career in science, which require the active consideration of the organisation.

In the School of Mathematics at Manchester, we recognise that, although the numbers of female students registered on our undergraduate and taught postgraduate programmes are healthy, women are under-represented on our PhD degree programmes as well as in postdoc and lecturing positions. We are dedicated to:

  • identifying potential barriers to the progression of women in mathematics at Manchester.
  • identifying any issues within the School that impact negatively on the lives of women and taking action to improve School policy.
  • implementing changes to make the working lives of all academic and professional and support staff as fair and balanced as possible.

A few examples of the actions we have undertaken recently to address the challenges high-lighted in the Athena Swan agenda include:

  • All female lecturers returning from maternity leave have access to increased research funds for one year and a reduced teaching load.
  • Childcare grants of up to 200 pounds are available to enable lecturers, postdocs and PhD students to travel to conferences, where childcare is an issue.
  • All female PhD students have a female lecturer on their supervisory team.
  • The School has dedicated support for grant writing, including informal peer-reviewing.
  • We ensure that there is an Athena Swan representative on all appointment panels and on the School-level promotions committee.
  • We encourage and provide financial support for staff and Phd students wishing to attend the LMS Women in Maths Days.
  • We have launched a Career Development Forum for postdocs and new lecturers where issues such as Applying for Grants, Promotions etc. can be discussed informally.
  • We run a Careers in Academia event for PhD students to inform them about potential career paths and applying for jobs.
  • Our staff take part in a wide range of out-reach activities with school children to promote STEMM subjects, especially to groups of girls.
  • We routinely monitor a wide range of gender data, such as the number of female seminar speakers, the numbers of female students on our MSc and PhD degrees etc.
  • The School of Mathematics is a supporter of the LMS Good Practice Scheme.

Current staff or researchers might like to look at our Athena SWAN Intranet page.

  • Funding

    Athena SWAN funding is available to support activities within the School that uphold and support the Athena SWAN principles and which support the School’s action plan [Athena SWAN Action Plan] to achieve a Silver Award.

    Athena SWAN funding is not intended to replace existing sources of funding in the School. If a proposal is eligible for funding from MAPLE, MIMS, a seminar budget, a research grant, etc., then such a source should be approached in the first instance, and the outcome of this approach should be explained in the application.

    Athena SWAN funding may be used to support career development activities of staff and PhD students within the School, to supplement existing seminar budgets (for example to support female speakers from overseas, where existing seminar budgets are insufficient to maintain a balanced complement of speakers), and so on.

    Requests for funding may be made using the online form below and will normally be considered at the next meeting of the Athena SWAN committee.  If a decision is needed on a shorter timescale please allow at least 3 weeks for the committee to be consulted.

    Expenses for Child Care

    Members of the School (PhD students, postdocs or academic staff) attending external events (workshops, conferences, research visits, etc.), or seminar speakers visiting the School, may seek funding for child care expenses from the School’s Athena SWAN Committee.  Events must be definable as “work-related training” (see below) in order for expenses to be exempt from tax.

    Child care grants will be provided as reimbursement for allowable expenses.  Receipts must be provided and applicants must make their own arrangements for child care.  Funding to any individual applicant will not exceed £40/day.  Claims up to a maximum of five days (a total limit of £200) are permitted.  Payments will not be made in advance of expenditure.  Reimbursement may be limited by the availability of funds in the School’s Athena SWAN budget.

    Allowable expenses include babysitting or child-care services (in which case receipts must identify the care provider), travel or accommodation costs of a carer (such as a family member) and travel expenses of the child.  Allowable expenses under this scheme exclude normal costs that would be incurred by the applicant in attending a conference or seminar, or costs associated with subsistence or entertainment of the child.

    Note: HMRC defines ‘work related training’ as any training course or other activity which is designed to impart, instil, improve or reinforce any knowledge, skills, or personal qualities which: are, or are likely to prove, useful to the employee when performing his/her duties; or will qualify or better qualify the employee to undertake the employment, or to participate in charitable or voluntary activities arising through the employment.  The training must relate to the employee’s current employment or to a "related employment".

    To apply for funding, please complete the online form.

  • Upcoming Events:

    •  Tuesday 11 September 2018 - IMA/LMS Joint Meeting: Noether Celebration
      Although it has been repeatedly underlined that Emmy Noether had to face threefold discrimination in political, racist and sexist respects the last-mentioned discrimination of the three is probably best documented. The talk provides some basic biographical facts about Emmy Noether with an emphasis on the discrimination against her as a woman, culminating for the first time in the struggles about her teaching permit (habilitation) 1915-1919 (main source C. Tollmien). Another focus of the talk will be on the later period of her life, in particular the failed appointment in Kiel (1930), her dismissal as a Jew in 1933 and her last years in the U.S.
    • 6/7 November 2018 - Women in Mathematics: Opportunities for the Future
      This two-day event is aimed at encouraging female mathematics students, including those who self-define as women or whose gender identity includes 'woman' or is non-binary, to consider continuing their studies to PhD level.

      The event features talks from mathematicians working both in universities and industry, giving insight into their current roles and their careers to date. Even more importantly, there is ample time o talk inn small groups to the other participants who are facing the same decisions, and to current PhD students who have recently faced the same questions.

    Past Events:

    In the news:

  • Resources for students:
    Women in Mathematics, Science and Academia:
    Funding Opportunities:
    Interviews with Researchers:
    Equality and Diversity:
    Work-Life Balance:
    Career Advice and Professional Development:
  • Prominent women in the history of mathematics at Manchester:

    The Davis index of female mathematics graduates in Manchester (1908-1940):

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