Maynooth University Department of Chemistry awarded Athena SWAN Bronze Award
Wednesday 31st March 2021
The MU Department of Chemistry has achieved an Athena SWAN Bronze Award, which recognises work undertaken to advance gender equality for staff and students at departmental level. 
Head of Department Professor Denise Rooney stated “we are delighted that the Dept. of  Chemistry has achieved this recognition for its efforts in gender equality and inclusivity and remain committed to supporting the implementation of our Gender Equality Action Plan 2021-2024. We look forward to progressing our procedures and culture with respect to gender equality to the benefit of all departmental staff and students”.

The 30 items in the Dept. Chemistry action plan include:

  • Embedding a robust consultation process with both staff and students to inform implementation of the plan;
  • Increasing the number of female applicants to academic posts;
  • Improving support for the work-life balance, mental health and wellbeing of our postgraduate research students.

The Chemistry self-assessment team (SAT) included representation from academic, research, administrative and technical staff and postgraduate students. Quantitative and qualitative data provided a baseline for the SAT to progress the gender action plan, mainstreaming equality and diversity in decision making and core activities. The Chair of the SAT, Dr. Eithne Dempsey commented: “The self-reflection process undertaken as part of the application process revealed a positive cultural commitment to gender equality which has now been validated through this award. This ethos will be embedded further via progression of key goals, ensuring a diverse and productive working environment for students and staff. This has never been more relevant given the paradigm shift in work practises in an evolving higher education landscape”.

President of Maynooth University, Professor Philip Nolan, commented: "Athena SWAN forms a key part of Maynooth University’s commitment to advancing gender equality in STEM. This Bronze award is a welcome recognition of the Department of Chemistry's commitment to creating a culture of gender equality. I congratulate everyone whose hard work is recognised in this award, especially the role played by Dr Eithne Dempsey in chairing the application and Action Plan."

The Athena SWAN Charter was launched in Ireland in 2015 to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) in higher education and research. The charter has since been expanded to recognise work undertaken in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSBBL), and staff working in professional, managerial and support roles. The charter framework also recognises work undertaken to address gender equality more broadly, including consideration of the experience of trans staff and students, as well as the underrepresentation of men in particular disciplines.

In 2018, Maynooth University was the first HEI in Ireland to achieve an Athena SWAN Bronze Institution Award under the expanded charter, in recognition of its commitment to progressing gender and intersectional equality for staff and students.

For further information:
Jennie Rothwell, Equality Project Officer, Maynooth University, athenaswan@mu.ie