Six higher education institutions in Cyprus have committed to advancing gender equality by signing up to a pilot project based on the Athena Swan Charter and funded by The Cyprus Agency of Quality Assurance and Accreditation in Higher Education (CYQAA).
The Athena Swan Charter is a framework used across the globe to support and transform gender equality within higher education and research. Frederick University, University of Central Lancashire Cyprus, University of Nicosia, Cyprus University of Technology, University of Cyprus and European University Cyprus will take part in the three-year pilot to co-develop a gender equality charter designed specifically for the higher education context on the third most populous island in the Mediterranean.
Alison Johns, Chief Executive, Advance HE, said, “We help higher education organisations across the world to be the best they can be, by unlocking the potential of their people.
“The UK Athena Swan Charter was launched in 2005 and since then has played a pivotal role in promoting gender equality in HE and research globally through partnerships in a growing number of countries including the Republic of Ireland, Australia, USA, Canada and India.
“We are now delighted to welcome these institutions in Cyprus to Advance HE membership and look forward to working with colleagues to progress gender quality in higher education and research on the island.”
Professor Mary Koutselini, President of CYQAA, said, “We are pleased to see this collaboration of the universities to promote gender equality in higher education programmes, research, activities, regulations, governance and administration, through the Athena Swan Charter, and to expand their existing procedures for equality and equity. It is important to emphasise that the initiative has a down-up origin as it involves universities’ decision makers and leaders in the field.
“CYQAA is proud to facilitate their involvement in the project and to work together for the fulfilment of participants’ equality aims and objectives, which are not externally imposed but will represent their real and differentiated needs.”
Athena Swan began in the UK in 2005 and was assessed as the only gender equality award scheme that is both successful and transferable by GENDER-NET, a largescale research project funded by the European Commission.
In 2015 the Charter expanded from science and technology to advance gender equality across all subject areas in HE and among all staff groups. The framework has since been adapted for use outside of Europe, with charter frameworks established in Australia (SAGE-Athena Swan), the USA (SEA-Change) and Canada (Dimensions).
Advance HE’s international charters aim to establish frameworks that are globally comparable and locally contextualised, working with governments, national and sector agencies, or professional bodies to establish tailored and impactful charter frameworks.
The Athena Swan Cyprus Advisory Group met for the first time on 15 September to begin developing the framework for Cyprus.