Women in Science (Athena SWAN)

The Institute of Zoology has an international reputation for excellence in conservation science, but we also want to be known for the quality of the working environment we offer to conservation scientists throughout their careers.  

Athena SWAN Bronze Award






The Institute of Zoology has been awarded an Athena SWAN Bronze Award in recognition of our ongoing commitment to the advancement of gender equality: representation, progression and success for all.

We believe that excellence in our science is underpinned by diversity among our scientists, and we want to create a more inclusive, flexible and supportive working environment that promotes and retains this diversity. In so doing, we believe we will be creating a higher quality working environment for everyone.

Some recent initiatives include:

  • A new pay and progression framework that recognises a broad range of contributions and responsibilities
  • Introduction of mentoring and buddying schemes, a parent/carer network group and social committee
  • Introduction of a Return to Science Fellowship that provides up to 2 years’ salary for grant-funded staff returning to work after parental leave
  • Mandatory equality and diversity training
  • An unconscious bias refresher course for all staff involved in recruitment
  • New procedures to support students and staff during fieldwork

The ZSL Institute of Zoology is an equal opportunities employer and a member of the Athena SWAN Charter. We are committed to advancing gender equality, diversity, inclusion and equal opportunities for all.


What’s the Athena SWAN charter?

Recognising advancement of gender equality: representation, progression and success for all.

The Athena SWAN Charter was established by Advance HE (formerly Equality Challenge Unit) in 2005 to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in STEMM employment in higher education and research. In May 2015 the charter was expanded to recognise work undertaken in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL), and in professional and support roles, and for 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.

ECU’s Athena SWAN Charter covers women (and men where appropriate) in:

  • academic roles in STEMM and AHSSBL
  • professional and support staff
  • trans staff and students

In relation to their:

  • representation
  • progression of students into academia
  • journey through career milestones
  • working environment for all staff

Patricia Brekke IOZ scientist in the field

Charter Principles

The Athena SWAN Charter is based on ten key principles. By being part of Athena SWAN, institutions are committing to a progressive charter; adopting these principles within their policies, practices, action plans and culture.

  • We acknowledge that academia cannot reach its full potential unless it can benefit from the talents of all.
  • We commit to advancing gender equality in academia, in particular, addressing the loss of women across the career pipeline and the absence of women from senior academic, professional and support roles.
  • We commit to addressing unequal gender representation across academic disciplines and professional and support functions. In this we recognise disciplinary differences including:
  • the relative underrepresentation of women in senior roles in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL)
  • the particularly high loss rate of women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM)
  • We commit to tackling the gender pay gap.
  • We commit to removing the obstacles faced by women, in particular, at major points of career development and progression including the transition from PhD into a sustainable academic career.
  • We commit to addressing the negative consequences of using short-term contracts for the retention and progression of staff in academia, particularly women.
  • We commit to tackling the discriminatory treatment often experienced by trans people.
  • We acknowledge that advancing gender equality demands commitment and action from all levels of the organisation and in particular active leadership from those in senior roles.
  • We commit to making and mainstreaming sustainable structural and cultural changes to advance gender equality, recognising that initiatives and actions that support individuals alone will not sufficiently advance equality.
  • All individuals have identities shaped by several different factors. We commit to considering the intersection of gender and other factors wherever possible.

Nathalie Pettorelli IOZ scientist in Serengeti

Athena SWAN contacts

The Athena SWAN steering group provides overall direction and coordinates Athena SWAN work for the Institute of Zoology.



Ken Norris (Director of Science)



  • Aline Cerqueira (PhD Student)
  • Guy Cowlishaw (Senior Research Fellow & Postgraduate Tutor)
  • Linda DaVolls (Head of Scientific Publications & Meetings)
  • Amrit Dehal (Information Systems Administrator)
  • Stefanie Deinet (Postgraduate Research Assistant)
  • Sarah Durant (Senior Research Fellow)
  • Helen Griffin (Head of Human Resources)
  • Xavier Harrison (Research Fellow)
  • Sergio Henriques (PhD Student)
  • Becki Lawson (Senior Research Fellow & Postgraduate Tutor)
  • Nathalie Pettorelli (Senior Research Fellow & Co-Chair)
  • Chris Sergeant (Animal Technician)
  • Nichola Stallword (HR Head of Training & Organisational Development)


Heather Koldewey and a Coconut Crab, Chagos

Current submission

Here is a link to our recent submission for a Bronze Award

PDF icon Athena Swan ZSL Institute of Zoology Action plan (345.93 KB)