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Positive Changes

Obviously we have long way to go to achieve equality and gender balance across our School (see here ) and TCD more generally. However, rather than getting depressed by the enormity of our task, we on the Athena SWAN Self-Assessment Team like to focus on the positives! Below are listed some positive changes we've already made across the School, along with some changes we're hoping to implement soon. Check back regularly for updates on our progress!

Recent changes

  • As part of our continued dedication to the improvement of our School, an application for a silver award is currently being prepared.
  • In both 2017 and 2018 Prof. Celia Holland was nominated as favourite "Woman in Science" as part of " Women in Science TCD" organised by DU General Science Society.
  • We were very excited to welcome Prof. Jennifer McElwain as the 1711 Chair of Botany within the School of Natural Sciences in September 2017.
  • The Royal Irish Academy honoured both Prof. Anna Davies and Prof. Celia Holland in October 2017 as part of their Pushing Boundaries’ artwork exhibition, an ongoing project that explores the misrepresentation of women through issues of gender, power and politics.
  • The Climate-KIC Summer School was held in October 2017. Dr. Quentin Crowley ensured that gender equality aspects of the climate justice crisis were included in the curricula and Dr. Susan Murphy delivered a workshop on gender and entrepreneurship and gender sensitising in the research and innovation process.
  • Dr. Quentin Crowley coordinated the debate ‘Climate Change Debate: Ireland and Canada’ in October 2017, hosting gender equality activist Mary Robinson. This included a specific focus on the role of women in this sector, this raised awareness amongst MSc students in the School of Natural science about the equality issues and equal opportunity challenges specific to their career area.
  • Dr. Jane Stout wrote a high impact article for a widely read national media outlet on the subject of gender equality in April 2017, entitled ‘Figuring out the challenges of being a scientist and a mum . This raised awareness nationally and specifically addressed the challenges to female academics and her experience as a working Mom in the school of Natural Sciences.
  • In April 2017 Dr. Susan Murphy acted as an international adviser at the First International Conference on Gender in Higher Education, Dar es Salaam University College of Education, Tanzania. Dr. Murphy also presented research on the GATE project (Gender Agenda: Transformation through Education).
  • In 2017 the Trinity Centre for Gender Equality and Leadership (TCGEL) was established to deliver the University's strategic objectives to advance gender equality. Recognising the work done by WiSER (Centre for Women in Science and Engineering Research, TCD) to recruit, retain, return and advance women in academic science, engineering and technology, its remit has been extended to all disciplines and support areas across the university.
  • A School-wide survey was conducted to identify important areas in need of improvement. The results have been compiled as a report that were discussed at a School Equality Forum – ‘make the school a better place to work for all’ on 19th December 2016. The report and the forum allowed us to develop proposed actions to be implemented to enhance equality and inclusion as part of our Athena SWAN Action Plan.
  • In November 2016 Dr. Alwynne McGeever delivered a workshop on the gender aspects of climate change for European leaders at European Representatives Meeting of the YWCA, an NGO that advocates for women’s rights and social justice issues. The NGO incorporated Climate Change into their action plan and began planning for gender specific climate change advocacy activities.
  • Since July 2016 Prof. Celia Holland has been a member of Royal Irish Academy (RIA) diversity committee, promoting diversity in applications for membership of the RIA.
  • Since 2016 Prof. Celia Holland and Dr. Susan Murphy have acted as role models and mentors as part of the Aurora Leadership Development Programme, supporting and advancing women's careers by taking positive action to address the under-representation of women in leadership positions.
  • In February 2016 three female academics from the School of Natural sciences (Dr. Jane Stout, Dr. Anna Davies and Prof. Celia Holland) attended the celebration of ‘Women in Science’, hosted by President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins. This raised awareness about the calibre of work and achievements of women working in the School of Natural Sciences, contributing towards positive gender attitudes and increasing opportunities for women in this field.
  • In May 2015, that the Athena Swan Charter was expanded and updated to recognise work in the Arts and Humanities as well as for staff in both professional and support roles. In addition, the Charter has made progress in the advancement of equality for transgender staff and students.
  • The Athena SWAN Charter, a recognition scheme for UK universities and their science, engineering and technology (SET) departments expanded to Ireland in 2015! The Athena SWAN Charter recognises commitment to advancing women's careers in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM), employment in higher education and research. An Athena SWAN Self-Assessment Team was established for the School and the school received Athena SWAN accreditation and a Bronze award for its efforts to address equality issues.
  • In 2014, Trinity College Dublin announced the exciting new INTEGER Returner’s Scheme. This will support academic staff returning to active research after a prolonged absence. The scheme provides a one semester release from teaching and/or administrative duties to enable returning staff to concentrate fully on their research. The scheme will operate on a pilot basis initially, and will then be reviewed to determine continued future implementation.
  • An independent evaluation of the INTEGER project, carried out by the Center of Excellence Women and Science, Germany (GESIS) was released and showed that the School of Natural Sciences is doing well in some areas, however there is still progress to be made.
  • Members of the committee organised SoapBox Science Ireland, a science outreach event especially for women scientists in April 2014. The link has pictures of the event and some videos of the speakers.
  • We were very excited to welcome our first ever female Chair of Zoology Prof. Yvonne Buckley to the School in February 2014.
  • Female scientists are often less visible than their male counterparts for a range of reasons. To change this in our School, the INTEGER team arranged for female faculty, postdocs and PhD students to record short video research profiles. These demonstrate the breadth of research done across the School, by both genders.
  • We facilitated a postdoc consultation which led to the postdocs re-organising and re-energising the School postdoc committee. So far the committee (under the leadership of INTEGER team postdoc representatives) have organised a regular postdoc writing group and a postdoc lunchtime seminar series. This has also brought the postdoc community together and has given them a voice in School and College matters.
  • A considerable gender imbalance was noted in the School seminar series so a consistent effort is being made as part of the Evolutionary Biology and Ecology Seminar series and the Earth and the Environment Seminar series to ensure an equal gender representation of speakers, with current rates at 50% female representation. We hope this will inspire female undergraduate and postgraduate students who attend these seminars.
  • We have developed a handbook for new staff (including all types of staff and grades) to help them find their way around the School.
  • Members of the team (notably Clare Marshall from WiSER and Frances Logue from the School of Natural Sciences) have worked hard to sift through various data sources to get up-to-date and historical data on gender balance across the School.
  • Awareness of gender issues has increased across the School. It is not uncommon now for people to think about gender balance when looking for external examiners, referees, seminar speakers etc. Even the undergraduate students are becoming involved and organised a "Women in Science" event for International Women's Day.