Athena SWAN for Schools

The Athena SWAN Award recognises commitment to advancing the careers of women in research and employment in higher education. Please find resources and application templates to support your application.


  • Templates - UCD Employee and Student Surveys (for more information contact 
  • GEAP Template (Capture actions and responsibilities in a standardised format)


Get additional insights, guides and inspiration to help you through the application process.

Self Assessment Team Chairs

CollegeSchool SAT Chair
College of Arts and Humanities School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics Assistant Professor Pascale Baker
  School of Art History and Cultural Policy

Professor Kathleen James Chakraborty

Assistant Professor Pat Cooke

College of Health and Agricultural Sciences School of Medicine

Associate Professor Marguerite Clyne

Professor Denis Shields

  School of Veterinary Medicine Professor Torres Sweeney
  School of Agriculture and Food Science Assistant Professor Saoirse Tracy
Professor Frank Monahan
  School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science

Assistant Professor Mirjam Heinen

Assistant Professor Ross Neville

  School of Nursing, Midwifery & Health Systems

Professor Abbey Hyde
Professor Thilo Kroll

College of Science School of Computer Science Professor Padraig Cunningham
Associate Professor Eleni Mangina
  School of Biology and Environmental Science

Assistant Professor Antoinette Perry

Assistant Professor Simone Ciuti

  School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science Assistant Professor Siobhán McClean
  School of Physics Associate Professor Sheila McBreen (JUNO)
College of Social Sciences and Law School of Archaeology Assistant Professor Meriel McClatchie
  School of Psychology

Associate Professor Jessica Bramham

Assistant Professor Michelle Downes

  School of Economics

Professor Ron Davies

Associate Professor Orla Doyle

  School of Law

Dr Deirdre Healy

Professor Imelda Maher

College of Engineering & Architecture School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy Associate Professor Elizabeth Shotton
College of Business   Professor Andreas Hoepner
  School of Politics and International Relations Professor Niamh Hardiman

Athena SWAN for Schools briefing session - 15 November 2017

Image of Prof. Orla Feely speaking at the briefing session

Panel members from the Athena SWAN for Schools briefing

Pictured from left: Eimear O'Reilly, Prof. Orla Feely, Marcellina Fogarty, Sara Fink (Equality Challenge Unit), Prof. Ian Gent (University of St. Andrews), Dr Alan Harper (Keele University), Prof. Janice Carruthers (Queen's University), Rory Carey, Maura McGinn

Frequently Asked Questions

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In addition to the chair, the team should include people from a variety of backgrounds and with different experiences, with consideration of intersectionality.

A proportion of men and women that reflects the gender profile of the institution or department. Where the numbers of women (or men) in a department are very small, it may be that one gender is overrepresented on the SAT due to small numbers, for example: if there are only four women in a department of 25 and two of them sit on an SAT of six, the SAT would be 33% women while the department is only 16% women. It is vital that the composition of the SAT does not lead to a disproportionate burden on underrepresented groups.

A group of academics, professional and support staff, researchers, and students at different grades and levels that is representative of the submitting unit. This should include full time and part time staff, and staff on different contract types. The application requires extensive quantitative and qualitative data, which requires in-depth analysis and good presentation, so that it may be readily interpreted by others. You may want to include someone on your SAT who can take the lead on producing relevant data sets.

Individuals with knowledge of, skills and experience in advancing gender equality. This may be a mix of both lived experience and that gained through research and scholarship.

For more information, see Setting-Up a SAT guide on the this page.

There are a number of resources on the UCD Athena SWAN Schools webpage including; UCD Athena SWAN School toolkit, disaggregated data on your school, Equality Challenge Unit (ECU - now Advance HE) Athena SWAN Handbook, data and survey templates and relevant guidance.

Athena SWAN Programme Manager for Ireland, Dr Victoria Brownlee: 

It is important for the Chair to allocate areas of work to members of the SAT. One to two SAT members should be designated to lead on each section of the application.  Remember to start the process in plenty of time. Plan out the timeline at the beginning, for example identify when need to have consultation over so as not to overlap with exams and students leaving for the summer.

For more information see SAT meetings timeline, How to Set-up SAT and UCD Athena SWAN Schools Toolkit on this page.

Keep a record of actions as soon as you establish the SAT - this will help you to write your final application.

The action plan you submit to Athena SWAN should start from the submission date and cover the next three years. Show the actions you have already put in place in your application from.

In addition to consistently incorporating and implementing UCD’s Gender Equality Action Plan in your School GEAP, we recommend that Schools also develop and tailor additional approaches for their School or in collaboration with other Schools and the EDI Unit at UCD.

For applicants, benchmarking data can be used as a helpful tool to provide context and comparison; or as a ‘sense check’ in relation to disciplines and institutions within the broader higher education and research sector; and to highlight where there may be good practice and to inform actions. You should consider, how your gender representation compares to different national benchmarks, and how these relate to your own discipline focus, and what this could mean in terms of setting targets and aspirations.

For more on benchmarking see ECU’s FAQ.

It is likely that there will still be a trend, and you can show whether there are less women than men at each career stage. Discuss your data and what it might be illustrating. It is not essential to show significance in the Athena SWAN application form.

Qualitative data is equally important according to the Athena SWAN Guidelines. It is important you consult with staff, run a survey or focus groups to establish how people are experience working in the School and if there are any issues that need to be resolved.

It is crucial you consider the culture of your department to make real changes to the barriers faced by women. Statistical data won’t necessarily provide this information.

There isn't a right or wrong answer. Your decision should be dependent on your data, and what would work best in your School. The most important thing will be to ask should read employees throughout and students what they want, and tailor your actions to fit their needs.

In your application make the case for what you did, how and why.

Athena SWAN is a charter for advancing women’s career progression. In your application you will need to show how your actions have supported the recruitment, retention and promotion of women.

Keep in mind that good practice on gender inclusion benefits all staff and that some actions could be expanded to include all equality grounds. Please note, the ECU is expanding to include gender identity and ethnicity at University level. While the focus is on gender it will be beneficial to include other grounds where possible. E.g. ensure that the SAT is not just gender balanced but diverse in many ways.

Please note: UCD will also be launching its Gender Identity and Expression Policy and Guidelines to recognise, affirm and support diverse genders. We recommend members of SAT and colleagues to attend the launch Spring 2018. A number of training sessions have taken place across UCD. If your School is interested in organising a training session on Gender Identity and this policy, please contact the EDI Unit.

Yes, from May 2015 onwards, both faculty and staff should be included in this process.

You could explain the work you've done in the past and how your policies and practices consistently attract female students rather than putting new initiatives in place. If women comprise of more than 50%, you don’t need to take actions to attract staff and students.

Look further along your career pipeline - is the % of female students represented at post doc level or at full professor level?

Focus on how you are supporting women to continue in academia rather than getting them there in the first place - where are women dropping out and what are you going to do about it.

There will still be more you can do, for example communicating the benefits of family friendly policies, childcare support and benefits to staff and students.

Often staff and students are unaware of the benefits open to them.

You could also avoid having meetings outside of core hours to be inclusive and supportive of people with caring responsibilities or to improve your working from home policies.

If there are issues that you feel need addressing at UCD level, please share them with the EDI Unit and the Gender Equality Action group by contacting