- The Athena Swan Charter was established to help universities with gender equality issues
- Advance HE recommends that data be collected exclusively on gender-identity, not gender
- Feminist academics argue that the Athena plan has now lost its way
- Kathleen Stock says the foundation of the plan has been ‘destroyed’
Feminist professors said last night that the trans lobby has destroyed a major plan to promote women in education.
The Athena Swan Charter was established in 2005 to help universities address gender equality issues such as the pay gap and barriers to women’s careers.
It is used around the world to advance women’s careers in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine.
However, Advance HE, which runs the scheme, recommends that data be collected specifically on gender-identification, not gender – meaning transgender women, who are born men, are included.
Advance HE, which runs the Athena Swan Charter – which helps universities address issues of gender equality, is advising that data be collected exclusively on gender-identity, not sex. But Kathleen Stock (pictured) said it would ‘destroy’ Charter’s founding base
Its website says: ‘Advance HE recommends asking questions about gender rather than asking questions about sex. It ensures that equality efforts… are inclusive of a diverse range of gender identities.’
Activists have demanded that transgender women be treated at par with other women in official figures and public policy.
Feminist academics said the Athena Plan has now lost its way in promoting women’s gender-based rights.
Alice Sullivan, Professor of Sociology at University College London, and Dr John Armstrong, Senior Lecturer in Financial Mathematics, Probability and Statistics, co-authored an important blog post yesterday.
He added: ‘Athena Swan’s embrace of ‘gender as a spectrum’ appears to be inconsistent with its founding purpose.
Alice Sullivan (pictured), professor of sociology at University College London, said in a blog that Athena Swan’s ‘adopting gender as a spectrum’ is ‘inconsistent with its founding purpose’.
‘It raises uncomfortable questions about the trend of’ [university] Area to outsource your thinking about equality to external bodies.’
Philosophy professor Kathleen Stock, who left the University of Sussex after students protested her views on gender, agreed, saying: ‘Athena Swan’s foundation was destroyed, in other words.’
She told the Daily Telegraph: ‘It’s ridiculous. This subject changes. your data [on systematic discrimination of women] Not strong now.
Dr Armstrong said: ‘I think collecting data on gender identity and gender is absolutely fantastic. But they should not be mixed at all.
Advance HE has previously said in a statement: ‘The demand for recognition against the UK Athena Swan Charter is purely voluntary and not prescriptive.
‘It’s no longer linked to funding. We strongly advocate for open, constructive debate within and between Her Majesty’s institutions on these challenging issues.
The blog post was published by the British Educational Research Association.