TCD and UL conferred with landmark Athena Swan awards
12 January 2016
Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and the University of Limerick (UL) are celebrating being among the first Irish institutions to receive the prestigious Athena SWAN award. The Athena SWAN award recognises and celebrates good practice in recruiting, retaining and promoting women in STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine) in higher education.
TCD and UL were the only and first Irish institutions to receive the Bronze Athena SWAN award. The Athena SWAN initiative is run by the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU), which is currently celebrating 10 years, and works to further and support equality and diversity for staff and students in higher education institutions across the UK and in colleges in Scotland.
During 2015, the UK-based ECU announced that they would, for the first time, make access to their awards system possible outside of the UK by allowing Irish higher education institutions to sign up to the Athena SWAN charter for women in science from autumn 2014. Ten applications from Irish HEIs and departments were submitted to the Equality Challenge Unit. Of those submitted UL and TCD are the first to receive Bronze Institution Awards.
Responding to the announcement, Ruth Gilligan, manager of the Athena SWAN programme, said: “We’d like to congratulate Trinity College Dublin and the University of Limerick on their success. They worked extremely hard on their submissions and we are delighted that their efforts have resulted in a successful outcome. We’d also like to congratulate and say a big thank you to all of the institutions who submitted applications.
“The submission process is in itself, rigorous and time-consuming, and these institutions have ably demonstrated their unwavering commitment to gender equality by participating in it.”
The awards were presented by Ann O’Dea, CEO and co-founder of Silicon Republic, and founder of the Women Invent campaign to champion and promote the role of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths). TCD this year won a bronze institutional Athena SWAN award for advancing gender equality, while three of its Schools (Physics, Chemistry, Natural Sciences) also received bronze awards.
The Athena SWAN programme run by the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU) aims to advance women’s careers in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM) employment in higher education and research. Welcoming the award, TCD provost Dr Patrick Prendergast, said: “Inclusivity, equality and diversity are core values for Trinity College Dublin, and are enshrined in our recent Strategic Plan.
“We strive to create an inclusive college community in which women and men participate at all levels and where all are recognised fully for their contribution to the university. These are fundamental principles that underpin Trinity’s excellence.”
UL vice-president academic and registrar Professor Paul McCutcheon said: “UL is delighted to be one of the first Irish institutions to be awarded the prestigious AS Institution Bronze Award. This is an exciting development for the Higher Education Sector in Ireland. In UL we recognise that it is in the strategic interest of the university to ensure that all our people are enabled to achieve their full potential ensuring equality of opportunity for all our staff and students.
“The Athena SWAN process provides us with a clear framework through which gender equality can be measured and improved upon across the institution and particularly within our STEMM departments. Our institutional strategies should lead to higher numbers of female students in STEMM disciplines, higher levels of female applications for positions and promotions, resulting in increased numbers of females within STEMM realising their full career ambitions.
“According to figures released by the HEA recently the University of Limerick continues to have the highest percentage of women at professional level in the country, 31 per cent or almost a third of professors at UL are female. This compares to a national average of only 19 per cent.”
Established in 2005, the Athena SWAN charter originally rewarded institutions in the UK that were actively tackling gender equality challenges, but 2015 marked the first year they were also accessible to Irish institutions. Next year, the Athena SWAN programme will expand to include the arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law.http://www.engineersjournal.ie/2016/01/12/tcd-and-ul-conferred-with-landmark-athena-swan-awards/http://www.engineersjournal.ie/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/aaanews1.pnghttp://www.engineersjournal.ie/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/aaanews1-300x252.pngNewsawards,STEM,Trinity College Dublin,UL