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University of Limerick achieves expanded charter Bronze Athena SWAN award

Thu, 09 May 2019

UL President Dr Des Fitzgerald has announced that the University of Limerick has attained an expanded charter Bronze Athena SWAN award.

He said: “I am delighted to announce that the University of Limerick has been awarded a Bronze Athena SWAN award to the expanded charter. 

“The Athena SWAN Steering Committee (ASSC), which I chair, made the decision to apply for the Athena SWAN expanded charter, introduced in Ireland in November 2017, rather than renewing to the AS STEMM standard, which primarily focuses on the careers of women in STEMM. We are the first institution to upgrade our existing award to the expanded charter and the second university with Maynooth University to be awarded the expanded charter. This award recognises work undertaken to address gender equality more broadly, in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL), and in professional and support roles, and for trans staff and students.

“Athena SWAN therefore is not just about one gender but promotes equality and diversity across all disciplines.

“We are the best performing HE institute in Ireland regarding female representation at full professor level, rising from 8% in 2007 to 32% in 2018 – eight points above the national average. During autumn 2017, I restructured the Executive Committee of the University so that 8 of the 12 members are women, surpassing the target of 40% female representation set by the Minister for State for Higher Education. 50% of UL’s Faculty Deans are women, 41% of Heads of Department are women and 53% of UL’s Assistant Deans are women.  

“I remain strongly committed to providing access to the University with a particular focus on refugees and asylum seekers. Indeed, UL was awarded the status of University of Sanctuary in 2017 by City of Sanctuary in the UK. Amongst other attributes, I believe our commitment to equality and diversity underpins our designation as Sunday Times Irish University of the Year 2019. 

“I am also delighted to announce that the Kemmy Business School, the Graduate Entry Medical School and the School of Allied Health have also been successful in achieving Bronze Awards to the expanded charter. I would particularly like to congratulate the Dr Christine Cross (KBS); Professor Norelee Kennedy (School of Allied Health) and Professor Ailish Hannigan (GEMS) who led their AS Self-Assessment Teams and their schools application process. 

“This is an outstanding achievement and now brings to eight the number of schools/departments with Bronze Awards in UL, the highest in the country. I would like to thank members of the Athena SWAN Steering Committee and the Faculty Athena SWAN Self-Assessment Teams for their input to the Athena SWAN Application. I would also like to take the opportunity to thank those of you who completed the AS Equality and Diversity Attitude Survey (53% response rate) in April 2018. Your input was extremely valuable in informing the application.  

“I would particularly like to congratulate Dr Marie Connolly, Head of Equality & Diversity who led the institution application and who with Maureen Keogh, Athena SWAN Administrator, Equality & Diversity Office HR, also supported the school/department submissions.

“I am very proud of what we have achieved and I look forward to working with you to ensure that we deliver on our 4 year comprehensive AS Gender Action Plan which seeks to proactively improve the position of women, men where appropriate and under-represented groups at every level of our institution.”