Gender equality award for UL School of Engineering

Dr Reena Cole with students from the UL School of Engineering

UL School of Engineering has been awarded Bronze Athena Swan Award in recognition of the positive impact of actions that the School has undertaken to achieve gender equality amongst staff and students in Higher Education.

This brings the number of Athena Swan awards for the Faculty of Science and Engineering to seven, one of which is Ireland’s first Silver Award for UL’s Department of Physics.

In its submission for award, the school management team highlighted a range of activities and initiatives, including extensive outreach activity and events to encourage female students to consider studying engineering at undergraduate level.

The school has gender balance policies in place for advertising, interview boards, open day and public event representation as well as a range of supports in place for progression and promotion.

It also developed the concept of Engineering Ambassadors in 2018, where current female UL engineering students visit their own second-level schools to talk about their experience studying engineering as girls, providing role models for younger girls and very much on the ‘if she can see it, she can be it’ approach.

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Welcoming the latest award, Dr Reena Cole, the School of Engineering Athena SWAN champion since 2017, said it recognised the school’s efforts to enhance gender equality.

“Engineering has low numbers of women at all levels, in academia and industry. It starts with low numbers studying engineering programmes, much of which I believe is due to perceptions that engineering is not for girls – but engineering is for all.”

UL now holds UL now has a totally of 15 Athena Swan Awards including an Institution bronze award, a silver department award and now 13 Bronze Department/School Faculty awards.

The School of Engineering are involved with the Explore Engineering Inspire: Woman for Engineering event on April 27 at which the Explore Engineering showcase on  May 12 will be launched.