Athena Swan at University of Galway


University of Galway is committed to supporting gender diversity, equality and inclusion in our institution. For more information on how University of Galway is making strides in gender equality and how you can support the University in contributing to positive change for everyone, continue reading.

The Athena Swan Charter is a framework that is used across the globe to support and transform gender equality in higher education and research. The Irish contingent of Athena Swan is underpinned by eight key principles and is run by Athena Swan Ireland

Athena SWAN Ireland logo

University of Galway has been an Athena SWAN Charter member since 2015 and received its second Athena SWAN Bronze institutional award in recognition of the university’s work towards gender equality in 2021. Following the University's Bronze accrediation, the Institutional Self-Assessment Team (SAT) evolved into the Athena Swan Institutional Steer Group which oversees the implementation of the University's Athena SWAN action plan.

More information about the Institutional Self-Assessment Team who led the Athena SWAN application and the Institutional Athena SWAN Steering Group that are driving implementation of the Action Plan can be found here.

Athena Swan and University Governance

Athena SWAN activity is embedded in the University’s EDI and Governance Structure. Progress reports on the action plan are provided quarterly to the Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Campus Committee (EDICC) and bi-annually to UMT and Governing Authority via the Equality Diversity and Inclusion Campus Committee (EDICC).

‌ The Office of the Vice-President for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (OVPEDI)

The Office of the Vice-President for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (OVPEDI) leads on engagement with the Athena SWAN Charter and embedding Athena SWAN principles in the University. Vice-Deans for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in all four Colleges provide leadership and support for Athena SWAN activity at school level. 

University of Galway’s commitment to Athena SWAN is explicit in the University Strategy 2020-2025: 'We will maintain our Athena SWAN Bronze Award and aim to achieve institutional Silver-level accreditation to further advance diversity and equality in the University'. A goal of the EDI Strategy 2020-2025 is to 'Achieve an institutional Athena SWAN Silver Award'.

Athena SWAN in action

University of Galway put in place a number of actions from our 2017 - 2020 Action Plan, which have resulted in tangible change including:

  • Meetings During Core Hours Policy (2016)
  • A range of grants to support academic carers (2016, 17)
  • Access to Parental Leave savings at school/unit level (2016)
  • Improved Maternity Leave cover (2016)
  • Paternity Leave policy introduced (2017)
  • Academic Workload Allocation Guidelines (2018)
  • EDI work being specifically referenced in the contribution element of the criterion for promotion (2022)
  • Post-maternity Return to Work (Ramp-up) Workshops
  • Unconscious Bias Training
  • Aurora Women Leadership Development Programme: 131 women across all staff categories supported so far
  • Academic Career Development Workshops held bi-annually

We now have processes, practices and mechanisms to ensure frequent monitoring and awareness of gender in our key decision-making processes. For example:

  • EIA (Equality Impact Assessment) of all new and revised policies
  • Recruitment monitoring
  • Complete reform of academic promotions processes at both Senior Lecturer and Professorial Levels