Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) has been awarded the Athena SWAN Bronze Award in recognition of its commitment to advancing gender equality for women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and for bringing about organisational and cultural change within the Institute.
Welcoming the announcement, the President of DIT Professor Brian Norton emphasized that the objectives agreed in the Athena SWAN submission are a roadmap for the organization. “Enabling our students, in all of their diversity, to realize their full potential is the raison d’être of DIT. Our employment practices need to be consistent with that objective and gender equality is an essential ingredient. All colleagues, irrespective of their gender, must be totally confident that DIT will prepare, support and enable them to reach their goals, just as they support our students. This Award is an important milestone as we prepare to join with our partners in ITB and ITT to establish Ireland’s first Technological University in January 2019.”
A staff survey on gender equality in DIT identified areas that are now part of a comprehensive action plan to drive real change across the Institute. Considerable work is already underway to embed equality through all of the Institute’s policies and procedures. DIT has delivered on a number of key actions, including:
- Appointing a Director of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.
- Establishing a gender-balanced senior leadership committee as the highest-decision-making committee in DIT.
- Providing unconscious bias training for all senior leadership, which will be rolled out across the Institute this academic year.
- Reviewing all HR policies to ensure that diversity and inclusion are embedded in all stages of the recruitment, selection and retention process.
These institutional changes are enhanced by a number of vibrant staff and student initiatives to advance gender equality. For example, the Esteem Mentorship Programme aims to attract and retain female students in engineering and computer science by bringing them together with professional mentors from leading multinational tech and engineering companies in Ireland. The Women Leaders in Higher Education Network brings together over 100 women in DIT with the goal of supporting, encouraging and advocating for women in career advancement.
Professor Brian O’Neill, Chair of the DIT Athena SWAN Committee and Director of Research, Innovation and Enterprise at DIT, welcomed the announcement of the award, “We are delighted that our commitment to gender equality in DIT has been recognised through this Athena SWAN Bronze award. DIT aims to support all staff and students to achieve their full potential regardless of gender. This award recognises the strides we have already made towards improving gender equality and energises us to continue implementing the comprehensive action plan to bring about meaningful change in the future.”
DIT made its submission for a Bronze Award to Advance HE, the organization administering the Athena SWAN programme.
The Athena Swan Charter, launched in Ireland by the Higher Education Authority in 2015, was developed by Advance HE in 2005 to encourage and recognise the commitment of Higher Education Institutes in advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employed in higher education and research. It has since expanded to acknowledge the work undertaken in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law and to address gender equality more broadly, and not just the barriers to progression that affect women.
Taking part in the Athena SWAN Charter is a holistic and developmental process, where targeted actions are undertaken to change systemic inequality and impact can be measured over time. While good practice and impact are recognised through the conferral of awards (Bronze, Silver and Gold), the Charter acts as a framework through which institutions can effect cultural change through their engagement and active commitment to its principles.
Dublin Institute of Technology
At Dublin Institute of Technology, innovation is our tradition, and we have produced generations of leaders in a range of fields from science and health; business; law; tourism & hospitality; the creative & visual arts to engineering & the built environment. Our lively City-Centre campuses, including our new research and innovation hub at Grangegorman, are home to more than 20,000 students from Ireland and abroad, creating a culturally diverse and stimulating learning and research environment.
Dublin Institute of Technology, Institute of Technology Blanchardstown and Institute of Technology Tallaght are set to become Ireland’s first Technological University – TU Dublin – in January 2019.
The creation of TU Dublin will be one of the most exciting and important landmarks in Irish education in decades. With 28,500 students TU Dublin will be the place where the arts, business, science and technology converge. TU Dublin will create an inclusive and open learning experience offering pathways to graduation, from Apprenticeship to PhD, to a diverse range of students. With establishment confirmed for early next year, the first graduates of TU Dublin will receive awards from the new University in 2019.