The University of Aberdeen is committed to promoting equality, creating a culture of inclusivity and celebrating the diversity of its staff and student communities. On this page you can find our reports which detail our progress in achieving our equality ambitions.

Download our full report:


Equality Mainstreaming and Outcomes Report 2017


I am delighted to introduce the University of Aberdeen’s Mainstreaming and Equality Outcomes report which details how we are meeting our legal obligations in relation to equality and also how we plan to continue to strive to achieve excellent practice in equality and inclusion.

Embedding the principles of equality and celebrating the diversity of our campus are core priorities for the University of Aberdeen. We have demonstrated that this is the case by embedding equality and inclusivity within our Strategic Plan 2015 – 2020 and by clearly communicating this commitment to staff and students.

Our work on equality is heavily guided by engaging with staff and students on their experiences and learning from feedback, and by consulting external sources of expertise. As well as driving a cultural shift towards increased tolerance and respect, we have been proud to make a real difference to individuals through initiatives such as Project SEARCH, Athena SWAN, the development of a comprehensive and evolving Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy and Action Plan, successfully tacking the gender pay gap, and introducing an extensive training programme for staff and students in relation to equality.

The University’s senior management team were delighted to be involved in the development of this report; indeed, the University Court has endorsed it. I believe the report demonstrates the continued efforts and commitment of the University to equality and inclusivity. We very much look forward to progressing this work through the implementation of our Action Plan.

Professor Margaret Ross

Vice Principal for People Strategy


This report provides an update on (1) the progress made by the University of Aberdeen in meeting its legal requirement to mainstream equality into its functions and fulfil the requirements of the general duty as set out in the Equality Act 2010; and (2) the progress made by the University towards achieving its Equality Outcomes.

The University developed a Single Equality Scheme in 2013 and reported on progress in 2015. The following five equality outcomes were agreed through a process of consultation with the staff and student community:

  • The principles of Equality and Diversity will be a day-to-day consideration within all of the University’s activities, both strategically and operationally
  • Staff will have greater understanding of their responsibilities in Equality and Diversity and apply this in their practice to positively advance equality;
  • The University will be an inclusive community where staff and students are able to fulfil their full potential in their work or studies;
  • The diversity of the University community will be celebrated and recognised so that all staff and students feel respected and valued; and
  • The University will further gender equality and address the gender balance in STEMM subjects.

These outcomes have provided a clear focus for the University’s activities in relation to Equality and Diversity over the last 4 years.

Strategic Direction
The principles of Equality and Diversity are embedded within the University’s Strategic Plan 2015 – 2020. The University’s mission within the Strategic Plan includes the commitment to embed “a culture of equality and diversity in which all staff and students thrive”. The values included in the Strategic Plan commit the University to:

  • Sustainable partnerships with stakeholders - driving a culture of inclusion and accessibility
  • Respect for all within and beyond the University
  • An empowered and ambitious community in which all can thrive

The University has also agreed a specific vision for Equality and Diversity:

To strive to create an inclusive culture which celebrates the diversity of the University’s staff and students. In recognising that this diversity brings new and engaging perspectives and enriches the experience of all who work, study and visit the University we will take a proactive approach to embedding and mainstreaming the principles of Equality and Diversity by:

  • Driving the agenda at the highest strategic level and throughout the University;
  • Communicating the Equality and Diversity Vision and the University’s expectations widely to all staff and students;
  • Challenging prejudice and discrimination;
  • Sharing experiences and good practice;
  • Educating staff and students on Equality and Diversity and their responsibilities;
  • Engaging staff and students on Equality and Diversity matters.

One of the most significant changes since the publication of the report in 2015 has been the creation of the role of Vice Principal for People Strategy. This development reflects the importance of the ‘People’ pillar within the University’s Strategic Plan which includes the key goal “to foster a positive culture wherein our people are engaged, committed to our future, and champions of equality and diversity”. The role of Vice Principal for People Strategyencompasses the Equality and Diversity agenda. They chair the University’s Advisory Group on Equality and Diversity and are a champion for Equality and Diversity.

Structure of Report and Publication
The structure of this report has been set out to show clearly how the University is meeting the general duty within the Equality Act 2010. Therefore, there will be information on our progress and actions required in relation to:

  • eliminating unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation;
  • advancing equality of opportunity, considering the need to: remove or minimise disadvantage, meet the needs of people with protected characteristics, and encourage participation where it is low and;
  • fostering good relations between people from different groups;
  • diversity within the composition of boards.

The report also outlines the progress that the University has made towards meeting our Equality Outcomes since our review in 2015. Information which was provided in our reports of 2013 and 2015 will not be repeated in this report unless required.

An action plan can be found at Appendix 1and the actions are specifically linked to the items in this report. The action plan is ambitious, but achievable and continues our work to meet the Equality Outcomes. The employee information/data can be found in Appendix 2.

This report is fully available to staff, students, visitors and other interested groups or individuals. It will be published on the University’s Equality and Diversity webpage and will be publicised to staff and students through the University’s communication channels e.g. Staff E-zine, Message of the Day, open sessions, College newsletters.


Example of Mainstreaming Equality

The University of Aberdeen has developed a report outlining how it meets the legal requirement to mainstream equality into all of its functions.

More information on the Examples of Mainstreaming Equality

Progress on Equality Outcomes

The University has agreed 4 Equality Outcomes, developed through a process of consultation and communication. The Outcomes will shape our equality activities over the next 2 years.  

Read more about our progress in meeting our Outcomes

Equality outcomes Action Plan

The University has developed an action plan to continue to drive forward our work on delivering on our Equality Outcomes. Read more about the Action Plan

Equality Data

The University collects and analyses equality profile data on staff and students which we use to inform policy and decision-making.  Find out more about our current statistics


The equality and diversity agenda has continued to be a prominent aspect of the University’s priorities since the last report in 2015. Evidence from staff surveys indicates that the level of awareness of equality initiatives has been increasing and the impact of the University’s commitment to the Athena SWAN Charter has been positive for all of the equality characteristics. Evidence from a range of sources clearly indicates that equality is increasingly mainstreamed into the core of the University’s functions and that the engagement and knowledge of staff and students in this area has developed significantly.

The University’s Equality Outcomes have shaped and guided activities in this area and align with the University’s Strategic Plan commitments on equality and diversity.

We have made progress regarding all of the protected characteristics and our action plan details how we will continue to do so. Examples of activities by characteristic:

Protected characteristic

Development since 2015


  • Successful Athena SWAN accreditations and established Athena SWAN teams
  • Aurora leadership Programme – 15 participants with follow-up
  • activities
  • Career Development Focus Groups to support women
  • Proactive Senior Women’s Network
  • Gender Pay Gap greatly reduced


  • Project SEARCH – 23 interns secured employment
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy launched
  • Body Positive initiative led by the Aberdeen University Students Association
  • Staff Disability Network Group revised remit and Charter
  • Mainstreaming of reasonable adjustments for students
  • University is developing a British Sign Language Plan


  • Staff LGBT Network now also includes Post Graduate students
  • Increasing rankings in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index
  • No Bystanders Pledge signed by University Principal and Vice Principal for People Strategy and rolled out to staff


  • Creation of Race Equality Network in progress
  • International Staff and Student welcome sessions and inductions
  • University Chaplaincy is now the Inter-Faith Centre
  • University Chaplains fully integrated into the governance structure of Equality and Diversity
  • Supporting young people into University through the SFC REACH Project
  • Widening opportunities and breaking down barriers through the ECU Attracting Diversity Project
Gender Reassignment
  • Transgender policy and training being developed and delivered
  • Review of buildings to incorporate gender neutral toilets where possible and always considered within new-build proposals
Pregnancy and Maternity
  • Maternity and paternity coaching available to staff
  • Maternity leave cover fund proposed
  • Increased nursery childcare provision
  • Breastfeeding rooms established and promoted


As well as engaging with specific groups, we have also ensured that our equality governance structures address intersectionality and are accessible and applicable to all staff and students. By increasing support to our community through Academic Line Managers and Personal Tutors and strengthening our data collection systems and processes, we have aimed to address the diverse needs of our community. Through our events and public engagement activities, we pursue a policy of celebrating the vibrancy and diversity of our campus.

We look forward to continuously improving our practice in equality and diversity though delivering on our action plan; and to striving for excellence so that all our staff, students and visitors can be sure of a welcoming, inclusive and tolerant University in which to work and study.

Appendix 1: Equality Outcomes Action Plan 2017 – 2019
Appendix 2: Staff and Student Profile Data 2015-2016


Previous Equality Mainstreaming and Outcomes Report

The Scheme demonstrates the University’s continued commitment to fully embedding Equality and Diversity principles across the whole University. An interim report on progress with the Scheme was published in April 2015.
The University was delighted to launch its Equality Outcomes and Mainstreaming Equality Scheme in April 2013.