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Department of Veterinary Medicine

Cambridge Veterinary School

Studying at Cambridge



Athena SWAN in the Department of Veterinary Medicine




Dr Bethany Dearlove - My ‘Learning is infectious: pass it on’ kit, for which I received Wellcome Trust ISSF Public Engagement funding, has been developed to include many hands-on activities that are suitable for school pupils from the age of seven onwards. The main aim is to make microorganisms and their DNA both visible and tangible.

The Athena Scientific Women’s Academic Network is run by the Equality Challenge Unit. It launched its Charter in 1989, and recognises commitment to advancing women’s careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, Medicine and Mathematics in Higher Education and in Research.

Many women go into science at undergraduate level, but the proportion of women continuing to the highest levels of their chosen field does not reflect those undergraduate numbers. The initiatives launched under the Athena SWAN umbrella seek to redress that imbalance by creating the optimum conditions to enable the progression of women in science and to increase the representation of women in senior roles.

The University of Cambridge holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award, and a number of its Departments already hold Bronze or Silver awards.

The Department of Veterinary Medicine was pleased to submit its application for an Athena SWAN Bronze Award in April 2013. View Department's submission  2012. This involved providing an overview of the Department and its female staff and student population, supported by data relating to the gender balance in the Department, promotion, recruitment, family-friendly provision and other areas of particular relevance to women in their careers. We also provided an assessment of initiatives already underway in the Department and the wider University to support women in clinical veterinary medicine and related field s of scientific research. An action plan submitted in conjunction with the application sets out 22 different actions for us to follow up; some of these relate to practice that is already in place but needs refreshing, and some to new departures.

The application was prepared by a Departmental panel of clinical and non-clinical academic staff, researchers, staff clinicians and support staff, chaired by Professor Duncan Maskell (Head of Department) with support from Vivien Hodges (University’s Women in Science and Technology representative), Anne-Marie-Catchpole (co-coordinator for Athena SWAN submissions in the School of the Biological Sciences until September 2013) and Sharon Chaldecott (Human Resources).

We have been delighted to learn in September 2013 of the successful outcome of our application.

The Department will now be taking forward its action plan with a view to applying for a Silver Award in due course.