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Advance HE to highlight importance of data to Athena Swan at Ireland's first National Equality Charter Symposium

14 Apr 2023 | Sarah Fink Higher Education staff working in equality, diversity and inclusion across Ireland will get the chance to get first-hand advice from Advance HE's Athena Swan Ireland team at event at Trinity College next Wednesday

Advance HE’s Athena Swan team are to outline how Higher Education institutions can use data to underpin efforts to promote gender equality at Ireland’s First National Equality Charter Symposium in Dublin.

Pictured are Advance HE’s Head of Athena Swan (Ireland) Sarah Fink, left, and National Athena Swan Advisor Irene Byrne who will both attend the event, called Aiming Higher, Moving Forward Together, at Trinity College on Wednesday (19th April 2023), and will be available to answer questions from delegates throughout the day.

Data challenges

In a plenary session at the event, Sarah Fink will acknowledge the challenges institutions face in sourcing consistent sector-wide Equality, Diversity and Inclusion data – an issue raised by the Royal Irish Academy’s Higher Education Futures Taskforce in a special report in November 2021. 

However, she will also set out how and where institutions are accessing the information they use to support their applications for an Athena Swan Charter which recognises efforts to improve gender equality across Ireland’s Higher Education sector.

Supporting Higher Education

“The aim of Athena Swan Ireland is to support institutions and departments to deliver impactful and sustainable gender equality work and to build capacity for evidence-based equality work across the equality grounds enshrined in Irish legislation,” said Sarah Fink.

“The sector nationally is making huge strides in becoming more inclusive and welcoming to everyone – something which is fantastic to see.

“We are seeing compelling data from the smallest of departments to the largest of institutions of the real-life impact their work is having on the ground. Indeed, University of Limerick’s attainment of an Athena Swan Ireland Silver Award this month, the first institution in the country to achieve a Silver award, was a testament to the progress being made.

“The beneficiaries of this progress are HE staff and students but ultimately society itself.”

Higher Education Authority backing

The Symposium is supported from grant funding from Higher Education Authority via their competitive Gender Equality Enhancement Fund (GEEF). It is being organised in collaboration with GEEF partners: University College Cork, University College Dublin, University of Galway and Technological University Dublin.

Anyone working in equality, diversity and inclusion within the higher education sector in Ireland is welcome to attend and the event will be of particular relevance to staff working on Athena Swan applications at School, unit and institutional levels in Ireland and those active on Athena Swan self-assessment teams (SATs).

Athena Swan Ireland aims to support higher education institutions, academic departments, and professional units in impactful and sustainable gender equality work and to build capacity for evidence-based equality work across the equality grounds enshrined in Irish legislation. Find out more here.


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