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Home Article Athena SWAN to expand in Republic of Ireland

Athena SWAN to expand in Republic of Ireland

From November, it will include arts, humanities, social science, business and law departments alongside the current science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine disciplines.

Equality Challenge Unit’s (ECU) Athena SWAN gender equality charter is changing in the Republic of Ireland following a successful three year pilot of the scheme.

The progressive charter which aims to advance gender equality in Irish higher education will expand to include arts, humanities, social science, business and law departments alongside the current science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine disciplines.

The charter is also being expanded to include professional and support staff alongside academic staff. All applicants for the Athena SWAN charter will be required to consider the experiences of staff working in universities and institutes of technology, including access to flexible working and support for career progression.

To account for differences across disciplines and roles, higher education institutions will also be required to consider gender equality more broadly, including the underrepresentation of men where appropriate.

At institutional level, applicants will also be required to consider the experience of trans staff and students. They will be required to provide details of the policies and practices in place to ensure that staff are not discriminated against on the basis of being trans, including tackling inappropriate negative attitudes.

Dr Ruth Gilligan, ECU’s Athena SWAN Manager, said:

‘As part of the expansion of our gender equality charter in the Republic of Ireland, applicants at institutional level will also be required to collect data on and consider intersectionality, specifically the intersection of gender and ethnicity. The inclusion of intersectionality both as a principle and within the application process is informed by ECU’s Race Equality Charter which operates in the UK. It is also informed by current thinking on gender equality as individuals can experience complex discrimination, based on a combination of elements of their identity. It is therefore important that institutions’ equality and diversity work – aimed at tackling discrimination –  is mindful of this complexity when exploring issues and developing solutions.’

ECU will begin accepting applications from Irish institutions using the expanded process in November 2017. All applications from Irish institutions and departments must use the expanded charter forms by November 2020.

Published date: May 19, 2017