What is Athena SWAN?

The Athena SWAN Charter was established in 2005 by the Equality Challenge Unit in the UK 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.

In May 2015 the charter was 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.

In a major national initiative supported by the Higher Education Authority (HEA), access to the Athena SWAN framework was extended to Irish universities in 2015. Figures published by the HEA highlight gender inequality as an issue for the sector.  Across Irish universities in 2018, only 23% of Professors are women, and only 30% of the highest level of professional staff are women.  No Irish university has yet had a female President. Engagement with the Athena SWAN framework is a proven way of bringing gender equality into strategic and operational planning, and working toward improving the outcome for all staff.

The Athena SWAN Charter is based on ten key principles. By being part of Athena SWAN, institutions are committing to a progressive charter; adopting these principles within their policies, practices, action plans and culture.

Athena SWAN at NUI Galway

Athena SWAN Bronze Award Logo

NUI Galway signed up to the Athena SWAN charter in 2015 and identified the attainment of an Athena SWAN Bronze award as a key priority in Vision 2020, the University’s Strategic Plan 2015-2020.

NUI Galway achieved the Athena SWAN Bronze award in April 2018. This Bronze award is valid until April 2021.

Click here to learn more about the Institutional Self-Assessment Team who led the Athena SWAN application.