The Department of Classics and Ancient History has been accepted on the Gender Equality Charter Mark (GEM) trial, one of only two Classics departments to be involved in it. For an academic subject to flourish and grow, we depend upon having a diverse range of people studying and working with us. We accept wider University and College Equality and Diversity initiatives but at the same time maintain a framework of our own that helps us to develop and monitor departmentally-based initiatives that engage with and in some ways extend these central ones.
We have an ongoing self-assessment process within a defined structure, and we look to feedback and ideas from other Universities on the trial. We wish to identify any areas of unintentional bias in the department, and work collectively to resolve them where they are found.
Professor Daniel Ogden, Head of Classics and Ancient History
Athena Swan: Bronze Award Holder
Addressing gender inequalities and imbalance in the arts, humanities and social sciences
Classics and Ancient History is proud to have been awarded a Bronze Award on the Gender Equality Charter Mark (GEM) trial run conducted by the Equality Challenge Unit. We are one of 36 UK departments who submitted applications as part of the trial. The awards were announced nationwide in October 2014.
We are one of only two Classics departments to have received a Bronze award. We will hold this award until December 2017, which will be the date of the next charter assessment.
The Gender Equality Charter Mark aims to address gender inequalities and imbalance in the arts, humanities and social sciences, in particular the underrepresentation of women in senior academic roles. The purpose of the GEM is to recognise good practice, and to change working cultures to promote diversity.
This fantastic achievement attests to the Department’s continuing efforts to ensure gender equality within its own academic community; as well as to its leadership within the College, University and wider UK Classics community. We have created a working environment which reflects our views on gender equality and other forms of diversity.
The GEM trial builds on the success of the University’s engagement with the Athena SWAN charter. The GEM award is more wide-ranging, in a number of ways, than the Athena SWAN charter:
- includes professional services and support staff
- special focus on reducing unfair treatment often experienced by transgender people through promoting an inclusive culture
- challenges unequal representation of both men and women at all levels of the academic community.
Following this success, the department will be invited to participate in a number of events organised by the Equality Challenge Unit. The GEM will also provide a clear structure for continuing to carry out self-assessment and adjust areas which have been, and may be, identified as areas of gender or other inequalities.
The department welcomes suggestions and ideas from all its stakeholders on where we might be able to continue to build on this achievement in improving the nature of our working environment.
Professor Lynette Mitchell
The University needs to be a place where everyone, whether staff or student, is able to be confident and comfortable. For that reason, it is important that there is a culture of equality and diversity. A crucial part of creating and sustaining that culture is to have robust processes in place to support it, and an ongoing practice of critical reflection to make sure that these processes are fit for purpose. It is because of my commitment to a culture of equality and diversity that I have been part of the Department's GEM committee since its formation, and am now taking on the role of Chair. In December of last year the Department was awarded the bronze award, and I am keen to see that we maintain the good work done so far, and continue to enhance it so that our Department is a place where everyone can thrive.
I am studying for a PhD in the Classics department working on parody in Greek literature. I wanted to be involved with the GEM project as gender equality and diversity can only produce good results within the department and the field. I also want to help represent the postgraduate community in such a rewarding project.
Paul Dean - Postgraduate Research Student
Dr Claire Holleran
I joined the department in Exeter as a lecturer in 2012, following a series of fixed-term posts in both teaching and research. As a female early-career lecturer, I am keen to be involved in the GEM trial working group and to discuss matters relating to gender equality and work-life balance within academia.
Dr Claire Holleran - Lecturer
I am a first-year PhD student in the department of Classics and Ancient History. As a woman, a feminist, and a relatively new addition to the department, I am delighted to be a part of the self-assessment team for the GEM trial. I see this as an excellent opportunity to create positive, lasting change in the university, for the current staff and students, and for future generations.
Maria Kneafsey - Postgraduate Research Student
Dr Sharon Marshall
For me this is a fantastic opportunity for us as a department to be at the forefront of the GEM initiative to address gender inequalities and imbalance in the Arts and Humanities. As an early-career Education and Scholarship lecturer, I am keen for us as a department to reflect upon issues that impact across the entire career range. In my role as Senior Tutor, I oversee pastoral care within the Department and work closely with students who are facing a broad range of challenges alongside their studies. As such, I am passionate about doing everything within our power to ensure that we are providing a supportive environment in which all our students are encouraged and given the opportunity to reach their full potential.
Dr Sharon Marshall - Education and Scholarship Lecturer
I am an Administrator in the Dean’s Office, College of Humanities. I provide secretarial support to the GEM Self-Assessment Team and joined the group recently for career development reasons. As my role in the Dean’s Office relates to HR matters for the College, I have a direct interest into the aims and outcomes of the project.
Kerrie Brealy – Administrator, Dean's Office, College of Humanities
Dr Dan King
I am the Leventis Lecturer in the Impact of Greek Culture. In both my academic and pastoral roles I am particularly committed to ensuring that students flourish as whole individuals. The work of the GEM project is important because it provides an opportunity to make eloquent and persuasive arguments for creating a more positive environment for colleagues and students.
Dr Dan King - Lecturer
Dr Erica Rowan
I am the Leventis postdoctoral researcher in the department of Classics and Ancient History. As a female early-career researcher I am excited to have been given the opportunity to participate in the GEM trial working group. I feel that it is a chance to enact real change towards eliminating gender inequality and ensuring that all current and future students and researchers are able to pursue their academic goals.
Dr Erica Rowan – Associate Research Fellow
Dr Filippo Carla
I am a Lecturer in Classics and Ancient History since 2014; before coming to Exeter I worked in Italy and in Germany. In these different countries I had the chance to experience first-hand a very different academic context, all of them featuring very different and complex issues in the field of gender equality. I have always been engaged first person in this field, inside and outside the academia, and I would like to bring my international expertise and my awareness of different contexts and different proposed interventions to the University of Exeter, to make it a world-wide reference point for gender equality.
Dr Filippo Carla – Lecturer