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Athena SWAN News and Events

Carol Morris, Engineering & Innovation Athena SWAN SAT chair, selected as one of the top women in Engineering

Senior Lecturer in Engineering and Innovation and Athena SWAN SAT chair, Carol Morris, has been recognised for her efforts in challenging gender stereotypes in engineering with a Top 50 Women in Engineering Award (WE50).

In competition with over 200 nominations, Carol was awarded the WE50 - Returners and Transferrers for being a passionate supporter of women in engineering and for being an enthusiastic mentor to female engineering students at The Open University.

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Everyday Sexism- WORKSHOP

All invited on: Monday 26th of March 2018, from 11am to 1pm to help build the Everyday Sexism Project.

The Everyday Sexism Project exists to catalogue instances of sexism experienced on a day to day basis. They might be serious or minor, outrageously offensive or so niggling and normalised that you don’t even feel able to protest. Say as much or as little as you like, use your real name or a pseudonym – it’s up to you. By sharing your story you’re showing the world that sexism does exist, it is faced by women everyday and it is a valid problem to discuss.
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Venue: Podium of the Knowledge Media Insitute

To participate: email


Celebrating Internationaol Women's Day at the Knowledge Media Institute:

All KMIers celebrated International Women's Day by sharing their (gender-related) thoughts on the above canvas poster.


AURORA Conference on OU Campus, May 2017

Human Resources, Learning and Organisational Development are excited to announce an event for women in all roles.  Giving a taste of the Aurora Leadership Programme experience, the event will run on Tuesday 2 May 2017, 09.15-16.00hrs, in the Hub Theatre, MK Campus.  More details about speakers and workshops will follow shortly. 


OU celebrates four Athena SWAN Awards

The Open University has collected four Bronze Athena SWAN awards,  in recognition of its ongoing commitment to gender equality for all staff and students across the newly launched (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) STEM faculty.

At a ceremony held in Liverpool on Monday 12th December, OU staff joined hundreds of staff from other Higher Education Institutions to celebrate their achivement at the Athena SWAN awards:

  • Renewal of the OU's Institution Bronze status
  • School of Computing & Communications - Bronze award
  • School of Engineering & Innovation - Bronze award
  • School of Life, Health and Chemical Sciences - Bronze award

Read more here.

OU STEM Networking event - Wednesday 13th July (12:30 -14:00)

This is an opportunity to hear about the new Athena SWAN charter and the implications for our university. You will also be updated on current OU awards and submissions, and our 2016-2019 Action Plan.

A networking event to share with other STEM colleagues. We look forward to seeing you there!

This event takes place in Venables Building - Room S0049 at 12:30




The Department of Physical Sciences (DPS) has received an Athena SWAN Silver award in recognition of its support for Women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Medicine).  DPS is the first department in the University to be awarded the Silver award recognising its activities towards reducing inequalities in research, teaching and day-to-day department processes. Read more




International Women's Day plea for more women in IT

The OU has launched a video today (8 March) on International Women's Day, to highlight a project that aims to explore the reasons for the shortage of women working in the UK IT industry.

OU academics, Professor Parvati Raghuram and Dr Clem Herman, will be investigating why the numbers of women have been declining over the last 10 years with women making up only 11% of IT specialists in the UK. Dr Herman sees their research as a way to develop new thinking and approaches to the issue.

She says: "A lot of people are concerned about the low numbers of women in tech in the UK. Employers, educators, policymakers are all puzzling over why can we not recruit and retain more women in the IT sector as a whole. It is time we brought new thinking to this problem."

The academics are investigating this issue further through the £550,000 research project, Gender, Skilled Migration and IT; a comparative study of India and the UK, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council which compares the UK scenario with that of India.

"One way of addressing the problem of gender inequity in the UK is to compare it with other countries like India where there is a much higher proportion of women in IT, about 30%," said Professor Raghuram.

Between now and the end of this two-year project, the researchers will conduct surveys and interviews in partnership with a range of IT companies to understand in more depth the experiences of women in IT both in the UK and India.

This research is part of the OU's research in International Development and the OpenSpace Research Centre which are working towards a fairer, more sustainable world. Read more about the OU's research in International Development -

And about the OpenSpace Research Centre

Read more about Gender, Skilled Migration and IT; a comparative study of India and the UK -





This year for the very first time the Open University will run events across our Regions and Nations to celebrate International Women’s day.

The theme for 2016 is ‘Pledge for Parity’ where we are asked to pledge to take a concrete step to help achieve gender parity more quickly - whether to help women and girls achieve their ambitions, call for gender-balanced leadership, respect and value difference, develop more inclusive and flexible cultures or root out workplace bias. Each of us can be a leader within our own spheres of influence and commit to take pragmatic action to accelerate gender parity.

And, everyone is invited to celebrate the day locally!  

At Milton Keynes two events are planned:

  • Tuesday 8th March 10:30am - ‘Tea and cake’ with special guests in the Jennie Lee building: Debbie Britton, Director of Marketing, whose career has spanned marketing across all disciplines in a range of commercial sectors. She has been pivotal in a range of transformational and change programmes, typically with organisations striving to place the customer at the heart of their business. Her last role prior to the OU was as Director of Retail Marketing for npower, and she has previously held leadership roles at a range of financial services and retail organisations, encompassing board level P&L accountability for brands and multi-channel strategies.

Professor Monica Grady who is a leading British space scientist, primarily known for her work on meteorites. She is currently Professor of Planetary and Space Science in MCT and Science Faculty. Monica was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2012 Birthday Honours for services to space sciences. She is the first UK scientist to be President of the international Meteoritical Society.  REGISTER HERE

  • Wednesday 9th March from 9:15am in the Michael Young building, we will be welcoming Funke Abimbola, a lawyer with Roche, who won the Gender role model award at the September 2015 National Diversity Awards, which the OU sponsored. Funke is one of the UK’s most senior black lawyers and sits on the committee of Drive, promoting diversity in recruitment. We can expect her to provide an engaging perspective from another sector. REGISTER HERE

In the regions on Tuesday 8th March - ‘Tea and cake’. More details of times and venues will be sent out shortly. Please contact Juliet Coleman (Nottingham) Debs Fowler (Gateshead) Helen Vesty (Manchester) and Elizabeth Mullett (Oxford) Billy Khokhar (Leeds) for more information.

In Wales two events are planned:

  • Thursday 10 March, 12pm – 1pm, “A woman’s place…” workshop with Joy Kent, Chwarae Teg.

  • 1pm – 2pm International Women’s Day lunch with Joni Alexander from Women Making a Difference who will be available to talk informally to people about WMAD and their work.   (RSVP Hannah Pudner)

In Northern Ireland, on Tuesday 8th March at 10am in the Thomas Reynolds Room, Dr Mary Hinds, Director of Nursing and Allied Health Professions at Northern Ireland's Public Health Agency will be guest speaker. Mary has been a champion for lifelong learning and social mobility throughout her working career as a nurse, former Director of the Royal College of Nursing in Northern Ireland and as a former Acting Chief Executive in the Northern Health and Social Care Trust. Mary is an honorary doctor of The Open University. RSVPs to Alice Byrne.

In Scotland: Tuesday 8th March - ‘Tea and cake’ -contact Helen Wilkinson

Invitations will shortly go out from your local contacts so I do hope that you can join in at a place near you and be part of the celebrations



Applications open until 11th March 2016!

The L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science UK & Ireland Fellowships Programme for 2016 is now open for applications. Five female post-doctoral scientists in the UK &Ireland will be granted a fellowship worth £15,000 each.This unique award is designed to provide practical help to aid female post-doctoral in continuing their cutting-edge research. The fellowship can be spent as the fellow wishes; it could buy a piece of scientific equipment, help to cover child care costs or be used to fund conference travel.

Apply online at by the deadline 11th March 2016.


Developing Women Leaders in University Administration

Santander Universities will again be supporting the W30 and W50 Programmes hosted at UCLA. As part of this group, this programme is being offered to Open University staff.

W 30 Programme

The 2016 edition of the W30 Programme is organized by the Anderson School of Management at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). The program will take place from June 27 to June 30, 2016.

W30 is designed to prepare women currently in university faculty and administration for leadership positions of increasing responsibility within higher education. More details about the program can be found here.

W50 Programme

The 2016 edition of the W50 Programme is organized by the Anderson School of Management at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). The program will take place from June 26 to July 1, 2016.

W50 is designed for women — between 35-40 years old — who exhibit strong leadership skills, high professional potential and will become the next generation of global women leaders as board members. More details about the program can be found here.

The deadline for applications for both programmes is March 15, 2016.

For further information on these programmes contact Santander Universities directly at the following address:

Keeping Women in Science

Internationally recognised researcher on gender in higher education, Dr Kate White, will be the feature presenter at the next OU STEM Women’s Network event on Thursday 18 June, 12:30 – 2:00 pm, Meeting Room 1, ground floor, Jenny Lee Building.

 Kate’s most recent book, Keeping Women in Science, examines the careers of women and men at a large Australian research institute and the challenges that women with or without children experience, often resulting from direct and indirect discrimination and being positioned as outsiders.

 The research found a huge generational change between the Baby Boomers, the current science leaders, and Gen X and Gen Ys. Younger women and men reject the traditional model of a successful scientist—a single male for whom science is like a religious vocation. Instead, they seek new models for doing science that support dual careers, work flexibility and work-life balance.

You do not need to be a member of the OU STEM Women’s Network to attend this event.  

To attend, please contact


OU STEM Women’s Network - Lunch and Launch of Athena SWAN website

In celebration of International Women's Day, The OU STEM Women's Network will host a networking lunch and launch of the new OU Athena SWAN website.

The event takes place in the Jennie Lee Building Atrium on Tuesday 10 March at 12:30-14:00. This is your opportunity to network and celebrate the achievements of STEM women.



Applications open until 13th March 2015!

Five female post-doctoral scientists in the UK or Ireland will be granted a fellowship worth £15,000 each. The fellowships will be awarded to outstanding women scientists in the early stages of their career to enable/or facilitate 'promising scientific research'. The Fellowships are tenable at any UK or Irish university or research institute to support a 12-month period of postdoctoral research in any area of the life or physical sciences.

Entries can be made at