Organising a Gender Equality Survey: Planning, Responses and Results

In June 2019, the Department of Applied Sciences at UWE Bristol ran its third survey on gender equality as part of our work towards an Athena SWAN Silver Award. The final response to the survey was high, we reached a 74% (n=111) response rate, a 24% increase from our last survey in 2016 and there were a number of activities that we put in place to help support this.

Considerations when planning the survey

At the outset of the process we took a number of months to plan the survey, as well considering the optimal point in the year to collect responses, when staff were likely to be a bit less busy. In advance, the types of things we did included:

Sharing a draft survey with our gender equality self-assessment team to check on local departmental language/considerations and that locally relevant issues were captured.

Considering any ethical requirements, consent and data storage, so that staff were confident in how the data would be used.  

Planning how broadly we would apply the survey. We included technical staff and professional service staff, who sometimes had to ‘opt-in’ as many of these services are managed by the faculty rather than department.

Using an electronic survey tool (e.g. qualtrics) to assist in data input/analysis.

Incorporating questions on the survey that helped people to scope further activities (in our case, what did they think the future priorities for action were), as well as an open comments section for issues we did not anticipate.

Encouraging responses to the survey

For our third distribution of the survey, we put in place a number of activities to encourage staff responses, these included:

Embedding the survey in existing events or activities. For example, we launched the survey at a department away day, which also included inclusive curriculum design training, and where we had iPads available for people to complete the survey if they decided to.

Making it clear what staff, and others, would gain from the data that was collected and how we potentially saw it leading to impacts.

Using weekly updates, over the one-month duration of survey data collection, to engage people in the results, and highlight groups who might be under-represented.

Making it clear how we would share the findings, via a summary, infographic, and departmental events or meetings, as well as information on how people can access more information (e.g. external links or policies).

Survey results and Case Studies

There is now an infographic with the results on our Athena SWAN website. In addition to the survey work, we spent time in 2019 interviewing and updating the gender equality case studies that also support this work. They provide an overview of the views of our staff, postgraduate research and undergraduate students. Thank you to everyone that contributed to the survey and case studies. Our website, provides more information on the work on gender equality that we are undertaking in Applied Sciences at UWE Bristol.