The very useful perspectives reported in the feature “Putting women in the frame” (22 August) nonetheless require clarification on two points. First, although some external funding bodies have chosen to link achievement of Athena SWAN awards to funding stipulations – thus giving the Equality Challenge Unit the appearance of having regulatory functions – the ECU in fact plays no role in any external body’s decision to allocate funding to a higher education institution.
Second, while the Department of Health announcement certainly encouraged some additional institutions and departments to consider Athena SWAN, our experience is that they are usually keen to address the issue of under-representation quite separately from the stipulations of funding bodies.
Equality Challenge Unit
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