MU Department of Mathematics & Statistics achieves Athena Swan Bronze Award

Athena Swan Bronze Award Logo
Wednesday, September 6, 2023 - 14:15

The Maynooth University Department of Mathematics and Statistics has achieved the Athena Swan Bronze Award, in recognition of work undertaken to advance gender equality for staff and students in Higher Education.
To achieve the award, departments and institutions are required to perform a critical self-reflection and analysis to identify good practice and target areas in need of cultural and organisational change.
The Self-Assessment Team (SAT) for the application was led by Dr Niamh Cahill along with 9 colleagues from the Department. The SAT was supported in its work by the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Office, Human Resources and the Institutional Research Office.
The application includes a four-year Gender Equality Action Plan specific to the Department that addresses key challenges to gender equality. The 54-point Plan includes actions which have 4 priority areas-

  • Embedding EDI in the work of the Department to maintain and foster an inclusive and equitable environment;
  • Data Collection and Analysis to foster ongoing learning about EDI perspectives, identify effective practices, and address areas that require improvement;
  • EDI Outreach to demonstrate its commitment to celebrating and supporting diversity and inclusion efforts;
  • Staff development and Career support to fosters fairness, inclusivity, and equality. 

Prof Eeva Leinonen, President of Maynooth University, said: "I am delighted to congratulate the Department of Mathematics & Statistics for achieving the Athena Swan Bronze award. It is a significant milestone for STEMM. This award recognises the department's dedication to promoting gender equality and aligns with Maynooth University's values of equality, diversity, inclusion, and interculturalism at both department and school levels."
Dr Niamh Cahill, Department of Mathematics and Statistics Self-Assessment Team Chair, commented: "As the Chair of the Self-Assessment Team, I am very proud of the efforts that the committee and the department as a whole put into achieving the Athena Swan Bronze award.  This recognition symbolises our commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive environment within the department of Mathematics and Statistics, where every individual's potential can flourish unimpeded. Receiving this award fuels our resolve to continue dismantling barriers and shaping a future that is equitable for all."
Professor Ronan Farrell, Dean of the Faculty of Science said: “The Department of Mathematics and Statistics has a long history of being inclusive from a diverse community – in a field that is often seen as inaccessible to many. I am very proud to see it being recognized with this Athena Swan award, and I look forward to the Department continuing their work of inclusivity and support.”
About Athena Swan
The Athena Swan charter is a framework that is used across the globe to support and transform gender equality in higher education and research. By being part of Athena Swan, institutions and departments are committing to a progressive charter; adopting these principles within their policies, practices, action plans and culture.
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.
The Athena Swan Ireland Charter has recently undergone a re-development in line with the findings of a national consultation and offers a framework for progressing equality in higher education and research that is unique to Ireland but aligns broadly with the global charter principles. The new charter framework, introduced in October 2021, has further adapted the previous expanded charter framework to the Irish HEI context and takes a comprehensive multi-level approach to organisation structural/cultural change across the equality grounds enshrined in Irish legislation. This includes national drivers and links to core grant and research funding, and European Commission requirements for Horizon Europe.
In 2018, Maynooth University was the first Higher Education Institution 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. Maynooth University renewed it’s Athena Swan Bronze Award in early 2023. Eight Maynooth University Departments and one Maynooth University Faculty (six Departments and two Schools) have now achieved Athena Swan Bronze: in addition to the School of Business, the departments of Biology, Chemistry, Experimental Physics, Geography, Law, Psychology and the Faculty of Arts, Celtic Studies & Philosophy each hold Bronze Department Awards.
For further information:
Áine Coady, Equality Project Officer, Maynooth University,