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A message about Athena SWAN, from President Gina Quin

I am delighted to announce that the college has signed up to the Athena SWAN Charter, which is a programme to advance equality, diversity and inclusion in higher education.

NCI has long been an advocate for diversity and inclusion when it comes to equality of opportunity in accessing education. Founded in 2005 and originally focused on gender in Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Medicine (STEM), the Athena SWAN Charter was expanded in 2017 to include arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL), in professional and support roles, and for trans staff and students. The Charter now recognises work undertaken to address gender equality more broadly, and not just barriers to progression that affect women.

The Athena SWAN Charter provides us with a framework to examine barriers to full participation and will build on our existing commitment to an environment in which everyone can flourish. The Charter has been operating in Ireland since 2015 and is supported by the HEA. Irish Higher Education Institutions can make an Institutional application to recognise their commitment to equality and their plans to change systemic inequality. If successful, they will be awarded an Institutional Bronze Award, which must be renewed every three years. If significant improvements are made, they may apply for a Silver and ultimately a Gold Award.

A bronze award affirms that an institution:

  • is aware of gender equality issues at an institutional level
  • has identified particular challenges it faces
  • has a plan for the future

To earn a bronze award, an institution must:

  • undertake an institutional self-assessment
  • propose a three-year action plan, based on its self-assessment

NCI has signed up to the Athena SWAN Charter Principles, we have established a Steering Group to drive equality, diversity and inclusion in the college, and a Self-Assessment Team who will make our submission for a Bronze Award in April 2019.

The awards recognise and celebrate good practice in building and maintaining an inclusive environment which promotes equality, values diversity and respects the rights and dignity of all.

Our wholehearted commitment to Athena SWAN will allow NCI the opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to equality in specific, measurable ways, to recognise and share good practices and facilitate the development of an action plan to embed equality, diversity and inclusion in all we do.

Gina Quin
President of National College of Ireland