Athena Swan launched in Ireland in 2015 and versions of the charter are in place in the UK, Australia, the USA, India, and Canada. Athena Swan Ireland is managed by Advance HE, a registered charity that works with governments, sector agencies, institutions, and individuals to support higher education. Advance HE provides resources, training, and recognition schemes—one of which is the Athena Swan Charter.
What is Athena Swan?
The 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. It has since been expanded to address gender equality and intersectionality more broadly, not just barriers to progression that affect women. The Charter also now includes Arts, Humanities, Social Science, Business and Law (AHSSBL) disciplines as well as professional, managerial and support staff working in HE, in addition to the student population. In 2021, following a national consultation, a new Athena Swan Charter was published for Ireland. The new Charter offers a framework for progressing equality in higher education and research that is unique to the legislative, organisational, and cultural context of Ireland. The objective is to support impactful and sustainable gender equality work for all categories of staff and the student body and to build capacity for evidence-based equality work across the equality grounds enshrined in Irish legislation. The 2021 Charter also aligns with the requirements for Horizon Europe.
Engagement with the Athena Swan Charter is a key pillar of Ireland’s national strategy for gender equality and EDI in higher education. The Department’s Gender Action Plan 2018-2020 has explicit recommendations and actions for HEIs in relation to the attainment of Athena Swan certification and eligibility for research funding. Institutional access to Athena Swan Ireland is provided by the Higher Education Authority (HEA). The European Commission mandates public bodies, HEIs, and research bodies to have a Gender Equality Plan (GEP) or equivalent plan in place for eligibility in Horizon Europe schemes.
Athena Swan at IADT
In September 2022, IADT was awarded an Athena Swan Bronze Institution Award following a successful application in the April 2022 round. The Institute is proud to be the first HEI in Ireland to achieve an award under the new Athena Swan Charter principles for Ireland.
The external panel highlighted a range of good practices and planned initiatives at IADT, including:
· Race awareness training was made mandatory for all Executive and Central managers in 2020 (and training will be run again for newly-appointed managers);
· Training was offered to all Academic Staff and PMASS Staff on anti-racism and inclusive education;
· A working group consisting of male staff from each functional area will be established to brainstorm measures to increase male engagement with EDI;
· Establishment of a Master of Business in EDI;
· Training on disability in the workplace will be organised for staff to accompany the IADT Code of Practice for the Employment of Staff with a Disability;
· Provision of EDI training for Y1 students in the Faculty of Film, Art + Creative Technologies (FFACT);
· IADT will scope out the potential for future collaborative opportunities in the EDI space with the dlr Age Friendly and Social Inclusion Unit and Integration Forum.
IADT self-assessment team (SAT)
Athena Swan in the Institute is overseen by the SAT. The SAT is reflective of the gender profile of the staff body, with representation from Academic and PMASS Staff, and students are represented by the IADTSU Welfare & Equality Officer and Education Officer.
Athena SWAN self-assessment team (SAT)
- Claire McGing (Chair) – EDI Manager
- Rachel Skelly (Secretariat) – EDI/Consent Administrator
- Anne Wright – Lecturer (FACT)
- Barry Dignam – Head of the Department of European Projects
- Conor Logan – Finance Manager
- Crow Mullen – IADTSU Education Officer
- David Quin – Lecturer (FACT)
- Denise McMorrow – Student Experiences Manager
- Dr Andrew Errity – Head of Department of Technology + Psychology
- Dr Nicola Fox-Hamilton – Lecturer (FACT)
- Dr Tina Kinsella – Head of Department of Design + Visual Arts
- Louise Glynn – Lecturer (FACT)
- Micaela Dunne – IADTSU Welfare & Equality Officer
- Niamh Clifford – HR Manager
- Rebecca Roper – Head of Teaching & Learning (T&L)
- Stephen Boyd – Lecturer (FEH)
IADT’s Athena Swan application can be viewed below.