Welcome to the University Women's Network website

To coincide with International Women’s Day 2012 the first University Women's Network was launched in NUI Galway. The Network seeks to support professional development and networking among its members towards achieving individual career goals and contributing to the development of vibrant research, teaching and support services communities.

Renowned author and researcher Professor Susan Vinnicome OBE, delivered the keynote address at the launch which took place in The View, on March 9th 2012.

Recognised for her work on women’s leadership styles, and the issues involved in women developing their managerial careers, her keynote address focused on the “Benefits of Networking in the University”.  To view the keynote presentation, click here.

The founding chair of the University Women’s Network, Professor Kathy Murphy, School of Nursing and Midwifery commented: “We are very excited about the Launch of the Women’s Network. The Network will provide a forum to discuss debate and propose solutions to some of the issues that impact on the professional development and career progression of women. The network will seek to promote a better gender balance in leadership positions in both academic and administration communities in the University, through various mechanisms including networking opportunities, relevant seminars, and mentoring.”    

The network welcomes membership from women and men from all categories of staff working in the University.

UWN Launch Photos


Pictured from left: An tOllamh Nollaig Mac Congáil,
Professor Susan Vinnicombe, Professor Kathy Murphy
Founding members of the network
Professor Kathy Murphy (Chair UWN)
  UWN Launch

Mission Statement

The University Women’s Network seeks to support the professional development of and networking among its members to enable achievement of individual career goals and to contribute to the development of vibrant research, teaching and support services communities at NUI Galway.  

The need for a network:

The third-level academic sector in Ireland is undergoing a challenging period of transition characterised by rising expectations of staff to develop new competencies and make exceptional contributions to research, teaching, leadership and administration. Unlike other sectors of employment, in recent decades, the university sector in Ireland has seen a trend toward more gender-balanced participation, including at NUI Galway.  This means that women and men are more or less equally represented in entry-level and early-career grades. This presents many opportunities for women and for the University, which benefits from a wider pool of skills and talents, and allows it to provide important role models for our women students.

But it also poses particular challenges. For example, for individual women, how do we meet the many demands of the profession and ensure the desired level of professional advancement while also achieving a sustainable work-life balance? And, for the University, how to ensure that NUI Galway is an environment that facilitates gender-balanced professional advancement across the university at every level?

While it is good news that women are gaining access to employment on an equal basis with men, it has been consistently observed, across countries and disciplines and over time, that woman remain underrepresented at the upper and highest levels of promotion and leadership in universities. 1. 

Research confirms that one significant  obstacle to the advancement of women is a lack of access to  informal social networks that provide mentoring, foster reputation and profile, transmit information on the unwritten rules of the game, and model career pathways for male colleagues. 2.

Establishing professional  networks of  women is a commonly used remedy to address these gaps in business and more widely in different professional domains, including universities. Examples include the Women’s Forum at New York University, the Gender Initiative at Queens University Belfast, the Association for Academic Women at the University of Florida, and the Faculty Women’s Association at University of California, Irvine.

We believe that establishing such a network at NUI Galway would be an effective way of supporting women to meet their professional goals and a valuable resource to the University in realising its commitment to ensure that NUI Galway fully benefits from the talents and and energies of all its staff and that the under-representation of women is addressed and remedied.

How will the network operate?

The network will host one to two professional development events each semester, providing  university women with information useful to them in developing their careers, as well as an opportunity to develop links with other women and leaders in the University and beyond.  The network will be guided by principles of  inclusiveness, transparency and a commitment to equality.

Examples of events:  (i) Networking to benefit your career; (ii) Negotiating skills; (iii) Managing work-life balance; (iv) Maximising your career profile; (v) Panel events with editors from leading journals; (vi) Advice on career strategies from successful women academics/adminstrators/researchers.


Any woman or individual interested in woman’s issues working at University of Galway in any community or grade who feels they would benefit from taking part in the network is encouraged to join. Events and activities run by the network will be open to all who wish to participate .

Founding members

Professor Kathy Murphy (Chair) 
Aoife Cooke (Secretary)                  
Dr. Lucy Byrnes           
Prof. Dympna Casey
Dr. Kelly Coate
Catherine Cronin

Anne Fallon
Dr. AnnMarie Groarke
Dr. Rachael Hilliard    
Caroline Loughnane
Ann Mitchell
Prof. Alma McCarthy

Dr. Grace McCormack
Nicola McNicholas
Dr. Pat Morgan
Dr. Emer Mulligan 
Prof. Niamh Reilly


1. The Distribution by Gender and Grade of Academic Staff in the National University of Ireland, Galway

2. Linehan M and H Scullion (2008).  ’The Development of Female Global Managers: The Role of Mentoring and Networking.’ Journal of Business Ethics, V. 83, pp29-40.