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UCL works with BSMMU, Dhaka to share experiences of using Athena SWAN to push for gender equality

Dr Fariha Haseen, Associate Professor at BSMMU and Kevin Coutinho, UCL Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

The Centre for Gender and Global Health was delighted to host a visit this week from Dr Fariha Haseen of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Dr Haseen is Associate Professor of Public Health and has been working closely with Centre staff Sarah Hawkes and Anna Purdie on rolling out a gender assessment of BSMMU, based on learnings from the Athena SWAN assessment at UCL.

The Centre is part of the UCL Institute for Global Health, which was recently awarded a Silver SWAN award, and has been working collaboratively with Dr Haseen to support her in the first ever analysis of gender at BSMMU. Dr Haseen and her colleagues have undertaken a scoping assessment of gender equality and women’s careers in the medical university, and, together with Sarah Hawkes and Anna Purdie held an inaugural workshop to explore expanding the initiative beyond the Department of Public Health and Informatics to other departments within the university. Dr Haseen is planning a more detailed assessment in the coming year, including designing and initiating a survey to better understand the challenges both staff and students face in the university environment and their career pipelines. She also plans to form a collaborative network of both male and female staff across the university to leverage support for the initiative.

During her visit to the Centre for Gender and Global Health, Dr Haseen met with Kevin Coutinho, UCL's Equality, Diversity and Inclusion lead on Athena SWAN, to discuss the work and the challenges of learning from the SWAN self-assessment process to meet the specific requirements of BSMMU, including further collaborative work with UCL Equality, Diversity and Inclusion to Dhaka to support these efforts.

UCL and Dr Haseen look forward to continuing to work collaboratively on this process, and would be interested to hear of any other trials to adapt learnings from the Athena SWAN process to conduct gender-assessments in organisations in the Global South and share experiences of the challenges of tailoring the framework to different settings and contexts.