Narratives of academic staff involvement in Athena SWAN and race equality charter marks in UK higher education institutions

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

External organisations

  • University of Nottingham


In line with other national higher education systems, the UK has, since 2005, taken a formalised approach to improving gender equality in academia in the form of the Athena SWAN charter mark; in 2016, an additional charter mark focusing on race equality (the REC) was introduced. This article, based on data from a multi-site case study exploring the experiences of those in UK higher education who are working on the charter marks, looks at how academic staff become involved in this work. Using a narrative analysis based on the conceptual tools of policy enactment, the article sets out a typology of trajectories of academic involvement in charter mark work. This focus on how academic staff become involved in work on charter marks as policy translators is set alongside a chronological account of the development of the charter mark awards in the UK higher education sector. Through locating staff trajectories in their particular context, we are able to ask questions of how work that seeks to address serious and enduring inequalities in academia is currently allocated and implemented, and with what kinds of expertise.

Bibliographic note

Publisher Copyright: © 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Education Policy
Early online date20 Feb 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Feb 2021


  • Equality charter marks, gender equality, higher education, policy enactment, race equality

ASJC Scopus subject areas