29 February, 2024
Minister Harris congratulates three Irish universities awarded Gender Equality Champions on International Women’s Day
By Maura O'Shea
Posted: 8 March, 2023
Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD today congratulated three Irish universities who marked International Women’s Day by being crowned Gender Equality Champions at an EU ceremony.
Trinity College Dublin, Maynooth University and South East Technological University, each of which is led by a female president, today won three out of the four prizes available at the inaugural EU Award for Gender Equality Champions in Brussels.
Minister Harris said: “From the moment this Department was established, we made it clear inclusion and equality was a critical priority.
“But it is incredibly gratifying to see that our universities are leading the way on this, and that today three of them have been recognised on the international stage for all the incredible work they are doing to create campuses where gender is blind.
“Education has the power to be transformative – more than anything else education can change a person’s life by improving their prospects, and it can drive society forward by making it more empathetic, with a greater understanding of the wider world.
“We need the opportunities that education provides to be available to all who want to pursue them, and for that reason I really want to thank and praise Trinity College, Maynooth University and South East Technological University for leading the way on gender equality.
“I hope these awards will act as an inspiration to society as a whole that we must keep working hard to create a truly just and equitable Ireland for all.”
In 2022 the European Commission launched an EU Award for Gender Equality Champions. This new award is the European Commission’s initiative to recognise and celebrate the outstanding results achieved in the implementation of gender equality plans by academic and research organisations.
The winners were announced today to mark International Women’s Day, by Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth.
Trinity College Dublin have been named Sustainable Gender Equality Champions, an award that recognises organisations that can demonstrate a significant and sustained record of activity and a high level of achievement through the implementation of their Gender Equality Plan.
Maynooth University were winners in the Newcomer Gender Equality Champions category, which recognises organisations that have recently started implementing a Gender Equality Plan and can demonstrate the most progress in its implementation and achieved results.
Finally, South East Technological University are Inclusive Gender Equality Champions, an award that recognises organisations that have developed the most innovative inclusive Gender Equality Plan addressing intersections with other social categories such as ethnicity, social origin, sexual orientation and gender identity (LGBTI+) or disability.
Chief Executive of the Higher Education Authority, Dr Alan Wall said: “These awards are testament to the ground-breaking work of Irish universities to tackle gender inequality in Irish higher education.
“The HEA’s recently published Review of Gender Equality in Irish higher education institutions demonstrates our commitment to continuing to advance this agenda and a signal that it time to double down on the excellent progress made to date.”
Since the first HEA Review of Gender Equality in Irish HEIs in 2016, Ireland has been at the forefront of European work to advance gender equality in research and innovation.
These awards acknowledge the work being undertaken in Irish higher education institutions and recognise Ireland’s position as a European leader in the area of equality, diversity and inclusion.
Notes to the Editor
Background Information on the EU Award for Gender Equality Champions Awards
First edition in 2022
This new award is the European Commission’s initiative to recognise and celebrate the outstanding results achieved in the implementation of gender equality plans by academic and research organisations.
The application process to this first edition of the EU Award for Gender Equality Champions was opened from 14 July to 13 October 2022.
The winners were announced by Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, in an Award Ceremony facilitated by Peter Dröll, Director for Prosperity in DG Research and Innovation.
Why there is a prize
The EU Award for (Academic) Gender Equality Champions aims to
- complement and boost the requirement for higher education and research organisations applying to Horizon Europe to have in place a Gender Equality Plan (GEP) as an eligibility criterion
- be a tool to advance inclusive gender equality plans and policies in the framework of the new European Research Area (ERA) policy agenda
- act as an enabler for the transformation agenda for universities set in the new ERA, and in line with the new European Strategy for Universities
The prize also intends to raise public awareness of the importance of addressing gender equality in academic and research organisations through institutional change and incentivise a high degree of commitment to implementing inclusive gender equality plans.
The prize will create a community of champions which can inspire other academic and research organisations to become gender equality champions themselves.
The European Research Executive Agency (REA) manages the prize and its winners are selected by an independent expert jury for each prize category.
Horizon Europe Widening Participation and Strengthening the European Research Area (WIDERA) Work Programme 2021-2022 featuring the new prize (p. 154 of 176).