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Equality Office

Athena Swan

The Athena SWAN Charter


The Athena SWAN Charter evolved from work between the Athena Project and the Scientific Women’s Academic Network (SWAN), to advance the representation of women in science, technology, engineering, medicine and mathematics (STEMM). The Charter was officially launched at the Institute of Physics on 22 June 2005, with the first awards conferred in 2006. The Charter has grown consistently from its inception.


All Athena SWAN members sign up to the principles of the charter:

  •  To address gender inequalities requires commitment and action from everyone, at all levels of the organisation
  •  To tackle the unequal representation of women in science requires changing cultures and attitudes across the organisation
  •  The absence of diversity at management and policy-making levels has broad implications which the organisation will examine
  •  The high loss rate of women in science is an urgent concern which the organisation will address
  •  The system of short-term contracts has particularly negative consequences for the retention and progression of women in science, which the organisation recognises
  •  There are both personal and structural obstacles to women making the transition from PhD into a sustainable academic career in science, which require the active consideration of the organisation 

DCU Athena SWAN Bronze Award

In March 2017, Dublin City University was 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.

Professor Greg Hughes, Chair of the DCU Athena SWAN Committee and VP for Research and 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, identfiy the main challenges for the University and devlop 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.

The Athena SWAN action plan dovetails with the University's 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.  Since the Women in Leadership initiative established, DCU's gender profile continues to improve steadily:

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Since receiving the Bronze Award a structured programme management approach has been implemented to ensure that the ambitious action plan is achieved and the benefits experienced by all.  Lead by the Chair, Professor Greg Hughes, a new Athena SWAN Self-Assessment Team (SAT) will oversee the delivery of DCU's Athena SWAN commitments and progress towards achievement of a Silver Athena SWAN Award. Full details of the three year action plan are available in the DCU Athena SWAN Bronze Award Submission.   A quarterly reporting pack is submitted to the Senior Management Group every quarter to provide regular progress updates.

DCU Athena Swan Self-Assessment Team (SAT)

  • Prof. Greg Hughes, School of Physical Sciences (Chair)  
  • Dr. Lorna Fitzsimons, School of Mechanical Engineering  
  • Mr. Martin Leavy, HR - Training and Development
  • Ms. Aisling Mckenna, Quality Promotion and Institutional Research
  • Dr. Melrona Kirrane, DCU Business School
  • Ms. Sandra Healy, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
  • Ms. Fiona Carvill, HR - Learning and Development

A Message from the DCU President

DCU has long been an advocate for Diversity and Inclusion particularly when it comes to equality of opportunity in accessing education. We recognise the key role we play in equipping our students to enter an increasingly diverse and intercultural workplace. DCU is focused on creating leaders who will have an impact on the economic and social development of society. One area where that has been highlighted as needing attention is the progression of women in the STEMM areas, which are represented by two of the Faculties in DCU. The Athena SWAN Charter provides us with a framework to examine if barriers to the full participation of women exist in these areas. It will also build on our existing commitment to the development of a gender action plan which will have targeted actions with measurable outputs that over time will effect change. The benefit of this process is that it allows for the University and the Schools within the STEMM areas to continually refine processes and procedures and requires them to be rigorously examined, by an independent panel, to confirm that they are free from discrimination and bias.
I strongly support DCU's engagement with the Athena SWAN Charter. 

For more information

Sandra Healy, Head of Diversity and Inclusion
Phone: 01 700 6169
Email: sandra.j.healy@dcu.ie