It is critical that Irish higher education institutions have the benefit of female voices at senior levels, and that gender balance is valued and prioritised by the sector in a real and meaningful way. This will lead to significant benefits, not just for our institutions, but for the communities they serve.
That is according to the president of Institute of Technology Carlow, Dr. Patricia Mulcahy, who was speaking today at a gender equality workshop jointly hosted by Institute of Technology Carlow and Waterford Institute of Technology. ‘Gender Equality in the Irish Technological Higher Education, held at Institute of Technology Carlow, brought together those working on gender equality initiatives from across the technological higher education sector, and saw representatives from 10 of the 14 institutes of technology in attendance.
Addressing the delegates, Dr. Patricia Mulcahy, who is the technological sector representative on the National Taskforce for Gender Equality, said “Our journey towards gender equality in higher education is an incredibly worthwhile, if also, at times, an incredibly difficult one. It is my hope that, by working together in the technological sector, we can affect greater change and have more significant impact than we could otherwise hope to achieve working alone. Our sector brings with it its own unique challenges and opportunities when it comes to gender equality, and these must be tackled and addressed head on, through initiatives such as Athena SWAN, if we are to make real progress and address some of the inequities in our system”.
“It is critical that our higher education institutions have the benefit of female voices at senior levels, and that gender balance is valued and prioritised by the sector in a real and meaningful way. We must now begin to act collectively to set an impetus for reform in our sector, which will have significant benefits not just for our institutions, but for the communities we serve”, Dr. Mulcahy added.
Other speakers at the event included Ms. Sandra Healy, Head of Diversity & Inclusion, DCU; Ms. Jean Cahill, Athena SWAN Project Manager DIT and Dr. Victoria Brownlee, Athena SWAN Ireland Manager from Advance HE. In the afternoon, delegates took part in a workshop, chaired by Dr. Jennifer Brennan of THEA, which provided a forum to share experiences, challenges and solutions, and work towards building a community of practice to strengthen gender equality in the technological sector.
Pictured at the workshop were, from left: Prof. Willie Donnelly, President, WIT; Dr. Valerie Brett, Athena Swan Project Manager; WIT; Elaine Sheridan; Financial Controller; WIT; Dr. Allison Kenneally, Director of the Office of Equality, Diversity & Inclusivity, Institute of Technology Carlow; Dr. Patricia Mulcahy, President, Institute of Technology Carlow; Mr. David Denieffe, Vice-President for Student Affairs, Institute of Technology Carlow.