Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

RCSI Achieves Athena SWAN Gender Equality Bronze Award

02 October 2018

RCSI has been awarded Athena SWAN Bronze accreditation for positive gender practice in higher education. The award follows an assessment of gender equality in RCSI’s policies, practices and structures, and it recognises RCSI’s commitment to ensuring that gender equality is embedded across the institution.

Commenting on the award, Professor Cathal Kelly, RCSI Chief Executive said, “We are an international institution, known for our diverse student body. At every opportunity, I emphasise the importance of treating staff and students with dignity and respect to ensure that everyone can reach their full potential in a positive and inclusive environment”.

Professor Kelly said, “The Athena SWAN Gender Equality Bronze Award underlines our commitment to promoting gender equality at RCSI. As Chair of the Athena SWAN Self-Assessment Team (SAT), I have witnessed the hard work and dedication of our staff in making the Athena SWAN principles a permanent and real feature of our culture here in RCSI. We acknowledge that this is part of a longer journey and that sustainability is key and we will continue to work to implement our four-year Athena SWAN Action Plan as part of our wider equality, diversity and inclusion objectives”.

Dr Avril Hutch, Associate Director - Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at RCSI, said: “We are grateful to Advance HE and the Higher Education Authority (HEA) for their support and guidance through this rigorous assessment process and we look forward to joining our peer third level institutions at the upcoming Athena SWAN awards ceremony in November 2018.”

The Athena SWAN Charter was established in 2005 to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment in higher education and research. In June 2013, a network of HEIs in Ireland and Northern Ireland along with key stakeholders, the Higher Education Authority (HEA); Science Foundation Ireland (SFI); Irish Research Council (IRC); Irish University Association (IUA) to establish the Athena SWAN process in Ireland. The Charter recognises work undertaken by third level institutions to address gender equality, not just the barriers to progression that affect women.

RCSI is an international not-for-profit health sciences institution, with its headquarters in Dublin, focused on education and research to drive improvements in human health worldwide.

RCSI Athena SWAN highlights:

  •  Publication of RCSI PROGRESS: Gender Equality in Surgery Report (July 2017) – launched by Minister of Health Simon Harris 
  • Governance: Establishment of dedicated Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Unit and Committee
  • Policy: Gender proofed 46 staff policies, including revised Maternity/Adoptive Leave Policy (with restricted teaching assignments for six months for staff returning from leave). Introduction of Core Meeting Hours and Email Usage Policy. New policy on committee/panel membership launched – 40% minimum male/female representation required. 
  • Training: Provision of online Unconscious Bias training for all staff and interview panels.
  • Leadership Development: Three 30% Club RCSI Women in Leadership scholarships awarded; 10 female staff attended Leadership Foundation for Higher Education (LFHE) Women on Boards training; four staff participated in 30% Club Mentorship Programme; 12 Staff attended year three of Aurora women in leadership programme; 23 female staff attend one year leadership development programme; dedicated promotions workshop for female academic staff.
  • Facilities: Installation of dedicated female gym facilities, two expressing rooms and thirty three Gender Neutral Bathrooms. Updated baby-changing facilities.
  • LGBT+: Establishment of RCSI Staff Pride Network; Launch of Gender Identity and Expression Policy launched by Minister for Employment and Social Protection Regina Doherty; partnership with Transgender Equality Network in Ireland (TENI) and roll out of 15 Trans 101 training courses for Senior Management Team, front line staff and students; hosted Pride Parade 2018 Grand Marshall reception.
  • Role models & advocates: Establishment of Emily Winifred Dickson Prize; first Women in Surgery Ireland conference in partnership with United States Association of Women Surgeons took place in RCSI in July 2015: RCSI Women on Walls Campaign launched in partnership with Accenture - eight female portraits to be unveiled in RCSI Boardroom in March 2019; International Women’s Day Wikipediathon; MCT Lab Safari for Transition Year students; first celebration of International Men’s Day.
  • Grievance Procedures – revised bullying & harassment procedures launched. 
  • Safe Campus Initiative launched: Sexual Consent and Bystander Intervention Training
  • Gender Pay Gap Audit and associated action plan completed 
  • Investors in Diversity Accreditation awarded