On December 10, Trinity College Dublin received the bronze institutional Athena SWAN award for advancing gender equality. Three of its schools, Physics, Chemistry and Natural Sciences, also received bronze awards.
The awards were presented at a special ceremony in the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland by the CEO and co-founder of Silicon Republic, Ann O’Dea.
Athena Swan Charter was founded in 2005 “to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology and engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment in higher education.” It was launched in Ireland in April 2015 and the applications for the award were opened. In July 2015, the results of the call were announced. Trinity is one of only two universities in Ireland to achieve the award, the second one being the University of Limerick.
The provost of Trinity College, Dr Patrick Prendergast, welcomed the award and said: “Inclusivity, equality and diversity are core values for Trinity College Dublin, and are enshrined in our recent Strategic Plan.” He continued: “We strive to create an inclusive College community in which women and men participate at all levels and where all are recognised fully for their contribution to the university. These are fundamental principles that underpin Trinity’s excellence.”
Professor Eileen Drew, director of the Women in Science and Engineering Research (WiSER) Centre, also commented on the award received by Trinity: “Securing these prestigious Athena SWAN awards really is a major milestone for Trinity College… They copper-fasten the achievements we have already made towards gender equality and will pave the way for further gender actions that follow the practices of the best UK Athena SWAN award holder universities: Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial, York, Edinburgh, UCL and Queen’s University Belfast.”
Women face many problems in advancing their careers in STEMM. They are underrepresented at various levels in science and its management. In academia, the number of female students studying physics, mathematics and engineering at undergraduate level is quite low and drops at postgraduate level.