Gender Equality Action Plan Group

We are fully committed to promoting and enabling equality of opportunity and demonstrating inclusivity for all our staff and students

As the University of Opportunity, we are fully committed to promoting and enabling equality of opportunity and demonstrating inclusivity for all our staff and students.  This is not simply giving everyone the identical opportunity but is more about recognising the different journeys people have in front of them, understanding and meeting their needs to support them to succeed. 

Equality, diversity and inclusion is at the heart of everything we do.  The University’s policy statement on gender equality can be accessed on the dedicated Equality and Diversity webpages, alongside policy statements covering other key aspects of our commitment to diversity i.e. disability, race, sexual orientation and gender identity. 

The University was successful in applying for an institution wide Athena Swan Bronze Award to recognise its solid foundation for eliminating gender bias and developing an inclusive culture that values all staff.  Our gender equality plan is predominantly set out in our Athena Swan submission and action plan. 

The University’s Department of Sport were awarded the Athena Swan Bronze Department Award in 2021 in recognition of their work to support gender equality. 

Department of sports Athena Swan Bronze Award Application

Our Athena Swan application is available to read: University Athena Swan Application

Our Athena Swan Action Plan is available to read. 

The Gender Equality Action Plan Delivery Group is responsible for monitoring and coordinating the delivery of the Athena Swan action plan.  This group is chaired by the Associate Dean, Inclusivity which is a role within the Office of the Vice Chancellor.  

The action plan sets clear goals and details actions and measures, along with responsibilities and progress. This is reviewed quarterly by the Gender Equality Actions Plan Delivery Group and progress is reported to the University Joint Equality and Diversity Committee (which includes Governors in its membership), which is chaired by Kim Carr (Independent Governor and Committee Chair). The action plan is a living document and is updated and progress is reported on every term to UEB and joint ED committee. Annual update reports will be sent to the Board of Governors.     

A GEP must have dedicated resources and expertise in gender equality to implement the plan.  Organisations should consider what type and volume of resources are required to support an ongoing process of sustainable organisational change. 

The University has robust leadership and governance arrangements for diversity and inclusion.   

Our Associate Dean of Inclusivity chairs the Gender Equality Action Plan Delivery Group, whose membership includes senior staff from across the University, including the Chairs of the Faculty Equality and Diversity committees.  This group is responsible for monitoring and coordinating the delivery of the Athena Swan action plan. The Gender Equality Action Plan Delivery Group reports in to the University Joint Equality and Diversity Committee (which includes Governors in its membership), which meets quarterly. 

Each Faculty also has identified Athena Swan leads for individual Schools and Departments, who are responsible for promoting and reporting on gender equality.    

This work is supported by a dedicated Equality, Diversity and Inclusion team, led by the Associate Director Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.  

Organisations must collect sex/ gender disaggregated data on personnel (and students, for the establishments concerned) with annual reporting based on indicators. Organisations should consider how to select the most relevant indicators, how to collect and analyse the data, including resources to do so, and should ensure that data is published and monitored on an annual basis. This data should inform the GEP’s objectives and targets, indicators, and ongoing evaluation of progress. 

The Equality, Diversity and Inclusion team report gender disaggregated data to the Gender Equality Action Plan Delivery Group, who are responsible for monitoring the work and progress towards addressing gender inequality. This information is used to inform and monitor progress against our Athena Swan Action Plan. Our annual Gender Pay Gap report is another key institutional report in our work to address gender equality. 


The GEP must also include awareness-raising and training actions on gender equality. These activities should engage the whole organisation and be an evidence-based, ongoing and long-term process. Activities should cover unconscious gender biases training aimed at staff and decision-makers and can also include communication activities and gender equality training that focuses on specific topics or addresses specific groups. 

At the University of Wolverhampton, we are committed to providing equality of opportunity in all we do, to create a vibrant university environment that supports the development and progression of all staff and students. 

We are continually improving our Recruitment and HR Practices and Procedures and policies to ensure gender equality throughout the employee lifecycle.  All staff are required to undertake mandatory training modules in Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education, and Unconscious Bias. Both modules include gender considerations as key elements and must be refreshed every 2 years.   

The Women's Staff Network was established in 2020 to work with the University to ensure that it addresses the unique challenges that women face within higher education.  It exists to give women staff members a greater voice in the University, liaises with senior management and internal service providers to ensure the unique needs of women are met by the University and works with the University to address gender inequalities within our institution.   The Network is open to all staff and regularly communicate with the wider University via the online staff newsletter.  

Recommended requirements: 

The 5 recommended requirements are covered within our Athena Swan submission and action plan. Below highlights some key information against each requirement.  

GEPs aim to promote gender equality through the sustainable transformation of organisational culture. Organisations should implement necessary policies to ensure an open and inclusive working environment, the visibility of women in the organisation and externally, and that the contribution of women is properly valued. Inclusive work-life balance policies and practices can also be considered in a GEP, including parental leave policies, flexible working time arrangements and support for caring responsibilities. 

We strive to make improvements to our policies and practices to better promote a positive work/life balance including improved support for working parents. The University of Wolverhampton has developed an Agile working policy to promote flexibility and support women to overcome barriers.  New ways of working can also offer time-based agility (the ‘when’) for some tasks, to enable individuals to better manage the changing demands of work and to balance this with personal commitments and interests and preferred time of work.  This complements our existing Flexible working policy.  

Increasing the number and share of women in leadership and decision-making positions touches upon all aspects in the GEP. Measures to ensure that women can take on and stay in leadership positions can include providing decision-makers with targeted gender training, adapting processes for selection and appointment of staff on committees, ensuring gender balance through gender quotas, and making committee membership more transparent. 

We are proud that 78% of our Service Directors and 71% of the senior team in the Offices of the Vice Chancellor are female. However, we acknowledge the need to strive for a gender balance in all leadership roles.  We have specific targets to increase the percentage of female staff at higher grades and increase the representation of women in our Professoriate.   

We continue to address the gender imbalance within our senior academic roles, by enhancing the personal development of staff members, enabling a greater diversity of staff to be promoted. Initiatives include offering 2 dedicated leadership programmes for women, The Aurora Programme (with Advance HE) and the Women’s Leadership Development Programme.

Critically reviewing selection procedures and remedying any biases can ensure that women and men get equal chances to develop and advance their careers. Establishing recruitment codes of conduct, involving gender equality officers in recruitment and promotion committees, proactively identifying women in underrepresented fields and considering organisation-wide workload planning models can be important measures to consider in a GEP. 

We are continually improving our Recruitment and HR Practices and Procedures and policies to ensure gender equality throughout the employee lifecycle. We have updated our recruitment and selection training to include more focus on equality, diversity, inclusion and unconscious bias and our Recruitment, Selection Panel Composition guidance has been updated to ensure gender diversity on all recruitment panels.

The GEP should consider how sex and gender analysis will be included in the research or educational outputs of an organisation. It can set out the organisation’s commitment to incorporating sex and gender in its research priorities, the processes for ensuring that the gender dimension is considered in research and teaching, and the support and capacity provided for researchers to develop methodologies that incorporate sex and gender analysis. Research funding and research performing organisations both have a role to play in ensuring this. 

Our Research Strategy has equality, diversity and inclusion embedded throughout, both in the research we undertake and how we achieve it. We have a priority to ensure all our research addresses Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, as well as a success measure that the proportion of women, Global Majority and disabled staff in research, knowledge exchange and in research leadership is reflective of our staff population.  

The Gender Pay Gap Report outlines our aims to increase our representation of women within the Professoriate to 40% by 2025 and to achieve a 5% increase in applications for academic roles from women by June 2023.  

Each Faculty has a Gender Equality Action plan which is monitored via the Faculty Research and Equality and Diversity Committees and included as part of their annual reporting to the University Research Committee. 

Organisations establishing a GEP should consider taking steps to ensure they have clear institutional policies on sexual harassment and other forms of gender-based violence. Policies should establish and codify the expected behaviour of employees, outline how members of the organisation can report instances of gender-based violence and how any such instances will be investigated and sanctions applied. They should also consider how information and support is provided to victims or witnesses and how the whole organisation can be mobilised to establish a culture of zero tolerance toward sexual harassment and violence. 

As the University of Opportunity we are committed to maintain a safe and inclusive campus for all our staff, students and visitors. We have a zero-tolerance approach towards any form of unlawful discrimination, prejudice, bullying and harassment, and are committed to ensuring all people are treated with dignity and respect regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation. 

The University of Wolverhampton believes that its staff and students should be treated with dignity, respect and fairness by all members of the University community. The policy on unfair discrimination, harassment and bullying covers gender-based discrimination, harassment and violence, and outlines the responsibilities for Managers, staff and students at the University.  It also explains how to take action and the associated procedures.