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Athena SWAN Bronze Award for DCU

Athena SWAN Bronze Award for DCU

DCU receives Athena SWAN Bronze Award in recognition of gender equality progress

Dublin City University has been awarded the Athena SWAN Bronze Award in recognition of its commitment to advancing gender equality for women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) and creating cultural change within the university.

The DCU Award includes a three-year action plan aimed at addressing the gender imbalance at higher academic grades by supporting and developing the careers of women within the university.  Specific objectives include:

  • Reform of the promotion process to address the lack of women in senior academic positions;

  • Using DCU-funded research to create an evidence base to prioritise female leadership initiatives;

  • Addressing issues in relation to maternity leave.

Professor Greg Hughes, Chair of the DCU Athena SWAN committee and Interim Vice President for Research & Innovation welcomed the announcement of the award, saying,

“DCU is committed to the principles that underpin the Athena SWAN Charter and is delighted to have that commitment recognised by a Bronze Award.  Our Athena SWAN submission has provided an opportunity to consult widely with staff, reflect on where we are in terms of gender equality, identify the main challenges for the university and develop a strong action plan to address these issues over the 3 year lifetime of the award.  I would like to acknowledge the huge efforts of the DCU Athena SWAN Committee in collating and interpreting the data to chart a course towards full diversity and inclusion for the university.”

This plan dovetails with the University’s existing Women in Leadership initiative which includes a range of interventions to build leadership capability and to support female staff in career progression to senior levels within the organisation:

  • Listening lunches to provide a forum for women from across the university to share their experience of university culture with the University President and HR Director;

  • The Mary McAleese Women in Leadership Lecture Series which provides increased visibility of female role models;

  • Project 50:50 to name at least 50% of new DCU buildings after female research pioneers and academics;

  • €50k funding for research into growing female leadership potential and evaluation of unconscious bias in staff charged with recruitment and promotion;

  • Unconscious Bias training for all staff engaged in recruitment and promotion processes;

  • Participation in the Aurora Leadership Development Programme to increase significantly the number of women reaching senior leadership positions with HEIs;

  • Family friendly meeting times to enable staff balance their professional and home lives;

  • Signing by the DCU President of the Centre for Global Development pledge which states that ‘at a public conference, I will not serve on a panel of two people or more unless there is at least one women on the panel, not including the Chair.”

Since the Women in Leadership initiative was established, DCU’s gender data have improved steadily with the female to male ratio at the Associate Professor Grade now at 45:55 and the Senior Management team of the university reaching 50:50.

About Athena Swan

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

In a major national initiative supported by the Higher Education Authority, the Athena SWAN Charter was launched in Ireland in early 2015.  Figures published by the Higher Education Authority highlighted gender inequality as an issue for the sector.  All 7 universities, 14 institutes of technology and the Royal College of Surgeons are eligible to participate in the charter, which is committed to advancing women’s careers in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM) employment in academia.


15th March, 2017
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