Gender equality and social inclusion issues are at the heart of our department’s identity and central to our research and academic missions. We are fully committed to establishing and maintaining an ethos of dignity and respect for all within a day-to-day culture of promoting equality of opportunity across all activities. As a department, we are committed to supporting equal access to education and career development for all.
This is consistent with the overall ethos of the university, which has been involved in equality and gender-related initiatives since 2005. UL’s strategic plan explicitly seeks “to exemplify gender equality best practice in all aspects of its activities” and reinforces our position as the leading university in Ireland in terms of female representation in senior roles. UL has a dedicated Office for Human Rights, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion which looks after areas such as strategy, training and events.
Advance HE’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. The charter has since expanded to recognise work undertaken in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL), and in professional and support roles, and for trans staff and students. The charter now recognises work undertaken to address gender equality more broadly, and not just barriers to progression that affect women. The Athena SWAN Charter was launched in Ireland in early 2015.
In 2015, UL received the Athena SWAN Bronze Award, which recognises and celebrates good practice in recruiting, retaining and promoting women in STEMM in higher education. UL was one of the first universities in Ireland to receive this award. Following on from this, the Department also received a Bronze Award in September 2020. The documentation submitted for the award includes an Action Plan outlining how the Department will ensure that the Athena SWAN principles will be adopted.