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Prof Belinda Lennox says 'Following the Athena SWAN Charter has helped us to not only identify problems, but also to develop creative, even innovative, responses to them. As a result, we belong to a fairer, more inclusive and equal Department of Psychiatry'

Senior Leadership Equality

The Department of Psychiatry is very proud of the equality in leadership which has been achieved in the last award period.  Initiatives to promote and support the career development of women staff members and early career researchers have resulted in increased representation at professorial levels (from 20% in 2012 to 30% in 2022).  In particular, the recently appointed Head of Department, Belinda Lennox, is also the first female clinical Professor of Psychiatry

Professor Belinda Lennox, Head of Department, said:

‘I believe the enthusiasm for the Athena SWAN process in our Department of Psychiatry and the commitment from our teams leading on its many initiatives and activities have been incredibly valuable. Following the Athena SWAN Charter has helped us to not only identify problems, but also to develop creative, even innovative, responses to them. As a result, we belong to a fairer, more inclusive and equal Department of Psychiatry, with clear opportunities of career progression for women towards senior posts.

‘Having worked part-time my-self for 10 years, whilst balancing research, clinical practice and childcare, I did not see any way that I could be competitive as an academic in the long-term. The positive impact of the Athena SWAN process has meant that I have been strongly supported to apply for senior positions, becoming the first female Professor of Psychiatry in 2019 and the first female Head of Department last year. In effect, the playing field has been levelled for me and I’m now enthusiastic to ensure the same opportunities are available for others.’

Departmental Values and Innovative Structure

2022 brings a new focus for the Department of Psychiatry which includes a newly created People and Culture Committee to incorporate and increase the diversity of impact carried out for gender equality.  Led by Professor Cath Harmer it is supported across the department by contributions from early career researchers, professional support staff, students, clinicians and researchers. It will include a range of working groups focused on traditional gender equality topics, such as caring responsibilities and working hours in addition to well-being, career development, and disability and race equality. With this broad spectrum of experience, we will be able to respond to the challenges of the post-pandemic working culture and gender equality issues.

Professor Catherine Harmer, Associate Head of People and Culture, said:

 ”I’m really excited to take on this new role as associate head of department for people and culture.  This will allow greater focus on the working culture of our department and of academia more broadly and help to support greater inclusivity and diversity. Our new initiatives and working structure have been met with high levels of enthusiasm and support from team members in the department and I am looking forward to working together on these new plans”

An image of a meeting and a quote about the project:  

Promotion and Uptake of Shared Parental Leave

Department of Psychiatry has successfully promoted and utilised the new University Policy to allow Shared Parental Leave.  Since the department was awarded its Silver Athena Swan award in April 2018, six members of staff have used the policy to allow parents to share their caring and working responsibilities equally post-birth or adoption of their child. Using Shared Parental Leave has allowed members of staff to choose to return to work flexibly.

Visit Psychiatry's work/life balance webpages

 

Click here to read about EDI activity in one of our other 16 departments:

MSD Goes Silver: 10 Years of Athena Swan