Law school is rewarded for progress in gender equality

Published by  Communications

On 18th May 2021

Dr Angelika Reichstein and Prof Claudina Richards

Dr Angelika Reichstein (left) and Prof Claudina Richards, outside the UEA Law School, Earlham Hall following award of their Athena SWAN Bronze award.

Leading members of the UEA’s law school today welcomed the University’s latest Athena SWAN award which works to transform gender equality in Higher Education (HE) and research.

The school is the latest recipient of an Athena SWAN Bronze Award. The assessment panel particularly commended the school for its mentoring of female staff, the senior support from the Head of School and Executive Team and its detailed action plan for the next five years to bring real cultural change.

UEA’s Law School, and the HE sector generally, sees more women studying law than men, but when it comes to female representation in the workplace men dominate in the senior roles.

Dr Angelika Reichstein, Lecturer in Law, Director of Equality and Diversity, says their task is to encourage more male students to study, and to try and understand the culture and barriers that prevent women from going on to take higher legal positions both in HE and general law practice.

“Gender equality is a pertinent topic for law, due to persistent inequalities. We are working hard to promote further equality, diversity and inclusion among staff and students by, for example, widely publicising our Law with Criminology course which is predicted to be more popular with male students, and further promoting family-friendly policies such as ‘Keep in Touch’ days for those on maternity leave and increased paternity leave allowance. This is an ongoing commitment, requiring the full support of the whole school.”

The Athena SWAN Charter provide a framework which covers the career pipeline from undergraduate students up to Professor. Schools are asked to provide a range of data which for students includes applications, headcounts and awards, and for staff recruitment, induction, promotion and career development.  

The University as a whole is an Athena SWAN Silver Award holder and all its schools are actively engaged with the framework, with four achieving silver and 11 bronze awards. It’s committed to achieving bronze for all schools by 2023.

It comes after the Times Higher Education (THE) Impact rankings placed UEA 7th globally for sustained economic growth and inclusive and decent employment for all. UEA’s commitment to paying the Living Wage and its work towards the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index were part of the submission.

However, annually the University Council receives a report on broader progress which has been made in the area of equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI). Despite, the many challenges of the global pandemic progress has continued to be achieved. A copy of the report is now available for all staff and students and the wider public on our external webpages.

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