In 2016, UCC was granted its first Athena SWAN award. The Athena SWAN programme will allow UCC to identify areas for positive action, and to recognise and share good practice. It will provide focus and impetus for equality initiatives already underway within UCC, such as the Aurora Leadership Development Programme and the GENOVATE EUFP7 Project, and will draw upon proposals developed in GENOVATE’s Gender Equality Action Plan for UCC, and upon the learning of the GENOVATE consortium project.
In the UK, Athena SWAN has had a proven impact as a catalyst for change, leading to organisational and cultural transformation that makes a real difference for women and enables all staff to achieve their maximum potential.
The HEA describes gender inequality as “a systemic issue for Irish higher education”, and research funders – from SFI to the IRC to the European Commission – are increasingly focusing on gender as a consideration in their funding programmes. Our wholehearted commitment to an internationally-recognised gender equality initiative may allow UCC an opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to equality in specific, measurable ways.
Since UCC earned its bronze award in 2016, individual departments may now make applications in their own right for an Athena SWAN Departmental Award. Three units are preparing applications for submission in November 2017.