NUIG Nursing School achieves Athena SWAN gender equality award

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NUI Galway’s School of Nursing and Midwifery has been awarded an Athena SWAN Bronze Award for advancing gender equality in the department and university culture.

The award recognises the dual efforts that have been made to tackle the under representation of men in the discipline, and the under representation of women at senior grades.

Professor Dympna Casey, Head of the School, said “I look forward to supporting the implementation of our Action Plans to generate an environment where all staff feel they have opportunities to reach their potential irrespective of gender.”

Nurses and midwives make up more than half of the global healthcare workforce, she said, and approximately 90% of nurses are women.

“However, gendered issues continue to impact our professions- for example social gender norms, gender bias and stereotyping hinder women taking on leadership roles, while gender norms, biases and stereotypes also hinder the recruitment of men entering the professions.

“In the pursuit of gender equality in nursing and midwifery, we therefore need to address both male under-representation and female progression.”

“This award marks the School’s engagement with both the ‘leaky pipeline’ of female senior leadership, as well as increasing male student intake into Nursing and Midwifery.”

The Athena SWAN Gender Equality Charter was created to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women STEMM fields.

Since 2015 the charter recognises work undertaken in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law, and in professional and support roles, and for trans staff and students. It now recognises work undertaken to address gender equality more broadly.

To achieve the award, institutions are required to perform a critical self-assessment and analysis to identify both good practice and problem areas and to develop a four-year action plan that addresses these challenges.

NUIG vice-president for Equality Prof Anne Scott said that it was a “significant achievement” to have successfully sought this award last year.

“Nursing and Midwifery is our first predominantly female school to apply for and achieve Athena SWAN Bronze and will serve as a very effective model as a number of our other predominantly female disciplines work towards Athena SWAN accreditation.”