Athena SWAN Committee

Welcome to the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems Athena SWAN Committee webpage.

The Athena Swan Charter is a framework that is used across the globe to support and transform gender equality within higher education (HE) and research. The UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems (SNMHS) was awarded the Athena SWAN Bronze Award in 2020. 

The SNMHS Athena SWAN committee is committed to implementing the Gender Equality Action Plan (GEAP) as set out in our Athena SWAN application. On this page you will find a number of resources, progress updates and how you might get involved with the Athena SWAN agenda as a student or staff member.

What is Athena SWAN?

Athena SWAN Ireland

The Athena Swan Charter is a framework which is used across the globe to support and transform gender equality within higher education (HE) and research. Established in 2005 to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment, the Charter is now being used across the globe to address gender equality more broadly, and not just barriers to progression that affect women.

The Athena Swan Charter launched in the Republic of Ireland in early 2015. The extension of the charter to Ireland was made possible through funding from the Higher Education Authority (HEA), which covers applications to the charter from 26 higher education institutions. Engagement with the charter is a key pillar of Ireland’s national strategy for gender equality with progress linked to institutional eligibility for funding from Ireland’s major research agencies.

Please see the Athena SWAN Ireland website for further information


The Athena SWAN Ireland 2021 Charter Framework Principles 

The objective of the Athena Swan Ireland 2021 charter framework is to support higher education institutions, academic departments, and professional units in impactful and sustainable gender equality work and to build capacity for evidence-based equality work across the equality grounds enshrined in Irish legislation.

In determining our priorities and interventions, the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems will commit to:

  1. adopting robust, transparent, and accountable processes for Athena Swan work, including:
  2. embedding equality, diversity, and inclusion in our culture, decision-making and partnerships, and holding ourselves and others in our institution/department/professional unit accountable.
  3. ensuring active leadership from senior staff, with those in senior roles at the forefront of taking action, and inspiring and fostering dedication and involvement from staff at all levels.
  4. collecting equality monitoring data to measure, understand and publicly report on challenges and progress, taking steps when necessary to support and encourage disclosure.
  5. undertaking transparent self-assessment processes to ensure priorities, interventions and actions are evidenced-based and inform our continuous development.
  6. distributing tasks appropriately, formally recognising and rewarding work and ensuring there is not a disproportionate burden on underrepresented groups.
  7. making and mainstreaming sustainable structural and cultural changes to remedy the effects of structural inequalities and social injustices, which manifest as differential experiences and outcomes for staff and students.
  8. tackling behaviours and cultures that detract from the creation of an institutional campus culture that is safe, respectful and supportive, including condemning sexual violence and harassment, bullying, discrimination, unfair treatment, or exploitation of staff, students or partners.
  9. addressing unequal gender representation across academic disciplines and professional, managerial and support functions, including examining gendered occupational segregation and elevating the status, voice, and career opportunities of under-valued and at-risk groups.
  10. fostering collective understanding that intersectional inequalities must be accounted for in the development of effective equality analysis and actions.
  11. mitigating the equality impacts of short-term and casual contracts for staff seeking sustainable careers.
  12. supporting flexibility and the maintenance of a healthy ‘whole life balance’ and mitigating the equality impact of career breaks and caring responsibilities.
  13. fostering collective understanding that individuals have the right to determine and affirm their gender, and to implementing inclusive and effective policies and practices that are cognisant of the lived experiences and needs of trans and non-binary people.

Content to be added in due course.

Meet our Team
Get Involved

If you would like to get involved in the work of the Athena SWAN committee, please contact either Assoc. Prof. Dr. Barbara Coughlan (, Dr. Sean Paul Teeling ( or Lisa MacNicholas (