Students Staff

Athena SWAN

The Department of History was awarded an Athena SWAN Bronze Departmental Award in April 2017. We are committed to equality and development of an inclusive culture promoting dignity and respect.

Matthew Grant "The historians in the Department are very proud to be working to enhance the working and learning environment of the History Department, working together to ensure that we create a culture of equality and respect so that all staff and students feel included and have the support and confidence to reach their potential.

As the Athena SWAN lead for the Department of History, I see at first hand the commitment to improving gender equality that underpins our Department’s ethos."

Self-Assessment Team Chair, Dr Matthew Grant
  • Athena SWAN Bronze Departmental Award 2016

    University of Essex History application

    Adobe PDF File
    2.91 MB

    Details of the application made by the Department of History for the Athena SWAN Bronze Departmental Award 2016.

Athena SWAN Charter

The Athena SWAN Charter was established in 2005 to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM) employment in higher education and research.

The University of Essex was awarded the Athena SWAN Institutional Bronze Award in November 2013 in recognition of its continuing work to support women in STEMM. The Department of History is applying for an Athena SWAN Bronze Departmental Award in November 2016.

In May 2015, the charter was expanded to recognise work undertaken in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL), and in professional and support roles, and for trans staff and students. The charter now recognises work undertaken to address gender equality more broadly, not just barriers to progression that affect women.

Celebrating women in the department

Our department has 21 academic members of staff, 9 of whom are women. We also have about 30 research students, 50% of whom are women.

We're proud of our outstanding female historians. We'd like to celebrate them by showcasing some of the recent activities of five amazing women at different stages of their careers, from PhD students to full Professors.

Professor Alison Rowlands

Professor in European History

Professor Alison Rowlands has written extensively about witchcraft in Early Modern Europe.

You can read about how she wrote her most recent work: 'Gender, Ungodly Parents and a Witch Family in Seventeenth-Century Germany'.

Dr Alix Green


Dr Alix Green has recently published History, Police and Public Purpose: Historians and Historical Thinking in Government (Palgrave, 2016).

Dr Lisa Smith

Lecturer in Digital History

Dr Lisa Smith is engaged in a marvellous array of online projects, from compiling historical recipes to understanding the letters of eighteenth-century polymath Sir Hans Sloane

Alice Violett and Nicolle Watkins

Graduate Teaching Assistants

Alice Violett and Nicolle Watkins co-organised the fantastic ‘Myth and Popular Memory’ Postgraduate Early Career Conference in 2015.

Celebrating the history of gender

Researching and teaching gender history is a central part of what we do here in the History Department. We’d like to showcase some of the wonderful modules we run that interrogate the way concepts of gender structured the lives of ordinary people and reveal how women and men lived their lives throughout history.

Resources for all working in the Department of History

Our department fosters an inclusive research and teaching environment.

For all staff

  • Essex Women's Network

    The University's Essex Women's Network provides support, informal mentoring and networking opportunities to women of all career levels. Although an initiative by women for women, all staff and PhD students are welcome to participate in activities.

  • Departmental mentoring

    The Department has a mentoring policy to support its academic staff. A senior member of staff is assigned as a mentor or probationary supervisor to all new academic staff.

    For research active staff, the mentor provides advice on what is worth doing and when, where and how to network, how to develop a career plan, explaining promotion criteria and how to develop a profile within a discipline. The academic staffing officer can also advise on issues related to probation and promotion.

    For new staff, an induction event is held by HR and the department.

  • Health and well-being

    Occupational Health

    The University’s Occupational Health team offer a wide range of resources to promote good health and wellbeing, from general advice on health risk to accessing eyesight tests and counselling services.

    Staff may access a free and confidential counselling and support service through the University’s Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) with Validium, a professional and independent employee assistance provider who support over 350 organisations in the UK. This service supports the University's Stress Management Policy (.doc).

    Harrassment and bullying

    Essex is a friendly and welcoming community for students, staff and visitors where people are treated with dignity and respect. We have a multicultural and diverse international community and are committed to establishing an environment that is free from any form of harassment and bullying. If you're unfortunate and experience any behaviour which is unwelcome, inappropriate, intimidating or offensive, our University has a network of trained harassment advisers who are ready to help. This is a confidential service.

    For information and advice or to arrange a meeting in confidence, call the Harassment Advisory Network on ext 4334, weekdays from 9am-5pm. You can also email

    Sports and exercise

    The University’s Sports Centre provides a wide variety of sports activities, relaxation courses, as well as courses offered exclusively to staff, on Colchester campus. These are great opportunities for recreational activities together with friends or colleagues, during lunch hours or after work.

  • Equality and diversity

    The University’s Equality and Diversity team provide advice and support on issues relating to equality, diversity, disability or discrimination.

    The department’s Athena SWAN team promotes and monitors issues related to gender equality and performance among staff and students.

For staff with families

  • Parents' Support Network

    The University has a lively Parents' Support Network to support staff with families via a peer mentoring scheme, a returning carers fund, educational talks and other networking events. There are also special parents-to-be seminars. This is part of the University’s support for working parents package. The Department is supportive of staff with caring responsibilities and encourages working parents and parents to-be to take advantage of these useful resources.

  • Family-friendly policies

    The Department actively promotes a family-friendly working environment for staff, implementing a range of policies to support working parents and parents-to-be. These include flexible working, compressed hours, childcare vouchers, flexible benefits, family leave and maternity keeping-in-touch days. Further information on these opportunities, as well as information for pregnant students and staff and their managers can be found on the Human Resources policies page.

  • Childcare

    Our University has an on-site nursery which offers exceptional day care to children from three months to five years. CHUMS (Children's Holidays at the University of Essex Multi-activity Sports) offers a holiday activity camp for children, aged from eight to fourteen, on-site at our Sports Centre.

    The University operates the flexible benefits and childcare vouchers schemes to support working parents with the costs of childcare. Essex County Council provides further support for finding quality childcare in the Essex area.

Career and professional development

The University’s Learning and Development provides training and development opportunities for staff at all stages of their careers. They offer workshops and short courses in leadership and management, bespoke programmes for academics, researchers and postgraduates as well as professional qualifications. Learning and Development also run the Springboard Programme, an award-winning development course for women.

Our Athena SWAN team