LYIT awarded Athena SWAN Bronze Institutional Award

LYIT awarded Athena SWAN Bronze Institutional Award

News, Student News, Staff News / Wednesday 31 March 2021

LYIT transforming gender equality in the Institute through an advanced Higher Education Athena SWAN Award

LYIT has been awarded the Athena SWAN Bronze Institutional Award in recognition of its work in advancing gender equality in higher education and in promoting diversity and inclusion for staff and students.  This award required LYIT to demonstrate an assessment of gender equality in the institution and develop a four-year plan that builds on this assessment. 

Members of the LYIT Athena SWAN Gender Equality Steering Group: John Andy Bonar, VP for Research, Equality & External Affairs; Dr Lynn Ramsey, Director of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion; Helen McGrandles, Human Resources Manager; and Paul Hannigan, President.

Dr Lynn Ramsey, Director of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at LYIT, warmly welcomed the announcement: “This award is a very significant achievement and demonstrates LYIT’s commitment to addressing the challenges of gender equality.  I would like to express my thanks to colleagues across LYIT who contributed to this successful application”.

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 charter launched in Ireland in 2015 with a specific remit to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment. 

The charter has since been expanded to include arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law and staff working in professional, managerial and support roles.  The framework also now recognises work undertaken to address gender equality more broadly, including consideration of the experience of trans staff and students, as well as the underrepresentation of men in particular disciplines.

In welcoming the award, Paul Hannigan, President of LYIT, stated: “This is a really important achievement for LYIT staff and students.  A huge amount of work has gone in to achieving this award and it is great credit to everyone involved.  LYIT is also the first Institute to achieve the Bronze Award for all staff within the Institute as the charter covers academic, professional management and support services”. 

“I would also like to congratulate our CUA partners in Galway-Mayo IT and IT Sligo on their Athena SWAN Bronze Awards as we continue to work together towards Technological University designation,” says Paul Hannigan.

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 27 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 Irish and EU research agencies.

Members of the Athena Swan Self-Assessment Team

John Andy Bonar, LYIT Vice President for Research, Equality and External Affairs, says: “I’d like to acknowledge everyone in LYIT’s contribution to achieving this very significant award, in particular members of the Steering Group, the Self-Assessment Team including the Chairs of the Working Groups and the members of the Gender Equality Committee of Governing Body, as well as all our staff and students”.

The awarding panel outlined that LYIT’s action plan was generally comprehensive and well presented with a clear timeline and outline of responsibilities.  Overall, the panel concluded that this was an application that demonstrated commitment to making progress on gender equality and sets out a clear and robust plan for achieving progress over the next four years.

Gráinne Devine, Chair of LYIT’s Gender Equality Committee of Governing Body, commented: “The award is a reflection of the hard work and dedication of the Self-Assessment Team and their productive engagement with staff from all levels within the institute.  This is a significant achievement, which acknowledges the progressive nature of the Institute, and I would like to congratulate all involved”.

Mary Hernandez, LYIT Students' Union (SU) President, also welcomed the announcement of the award and acknowledged recent developments in the college in promoting diversity and equality among students stating: “This is a step in the right direction and the SU looks forward to collaborating with the Institute to continue to promote awareness and equality among students.  The SU already actively run regular campaigns in promoting diversity and equality and we look forward to enhancing these by working closely with the Institute to spread further awareness among our student population''.

LYIT will continue to work and implement the comprehensive action plan to embed equality through the Institute's policies and procedures.  The Athena SWAN working groups will continue to advance organisational and cultural change within the Institute.

Commenting on the institutional awards achieved, Dr Joseph Ryan, CEO of THEA said: “Achieving an Athena SWAN Bronze institutional award is a significant milestone, involving considerable commitment and effort across institutional teams.  We are particularly happy to see that awards are going to all members of the Connacht-Ulster Technological University Alliance and we would like to extend our congratulations to those in Letterkenny, Sligo and Galway-Mayo, who are notified of their bronze awards today”.

See the full statement on the THEA website.

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