Trinity is committed to equality between women and men, and the right of all members of our community to be treated equally regardless of gender identity or gender expression.
The Athena SWAN Charter was established in the UK in 2005 to recognise commitment by higher education institutions to advancing the careers of female academic and research staff in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM) disciplines. In 2015, Athena SWAN was launched in Ireland. In the same year, the Charter expanded to recognise work for gender equality more broadly, and it also now relates to Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences, Business and Law (AHSSBL) disciplines and to professional staff.
Trinity is very proud to hold a bronze Athena SWAN award for our institutional commitment to gender equality in STEMM. We are also delighted that three of our Schools (Chemistry, Natural Sciences and Physics) have achieved bronze awards. Work is ongoing to implement the commitments made in our Athena SWAN applications, and to strive for further achievement throughout the university.
Please visit the Diversity and Inclusion website for further information about Trinity's participation in the Athena SWAN programme, including our successful application documents.
Research and Leadership Centres
The Trinity Centre for Gender Equality and Leadership (TCGEL) was established in 2017 to deliver the University's strategic objectives to advance gender equality. Recognising the work done by WiSER (Centre for Women in Science and Engineering Research, TCD) to recruit, retain, return and advance women in academic science, engineering and technology, its remit has been extended to all disciplines and support areas across the university through TCGEL.
The Centre for Gender and Women's Studies, part of the School of Histories and Humanities, "examines the representation and performance of gender, principally in western culture, and methodological approaches to its study, past and present". The Centre offers a taught M. Phil. programme in Gender and Women's Studies as well as opportunities for postgraduate research.
The Dublin University Gender Equality Society (DUGES) is Trinity's student society for gender equality (with regard to all gender identities). "Through relaxed movie nights, informative lectures and intriguing talks featuring notable guest speakers, the society brings together a diverse range of students to enable discussion and raise awareness" of gender issues.
Both the Students' Union and the Graduate Students' Union campaign for gender equality in many ways, whether by engaging in national movements (e.g. Repeal the 8th), international movements (e.g. HeForShe), or targeted actions in Trinity (e.g. sexual consent workshops). The SU's Feminists of Trinity campaign gives a flavour of the diversity of feminist thinking on our campus, and all students can get involved in the SU gender equality working group - just contact the Gender Equality Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
International Women's Week takes place annually in Trinity around International Women's Day (8th March). The five-day festival celebrates women's achievements and promotes gender equality in all spheres of life. All staff and students are invited to participate in the week and/or contribute your own event to the schedule.
The Trinity Centre for Gender Equality and Leadership run a varied programme of events including talks, film screenings and information sessions. TCGEL also manage the application of Trinity staff to the Aurora women's leadership programme.
Trinity acknowledges and celebrates the wide range of genders as which staff and students may identify. If you are a transgender student or staff member, don't hesitate to contact your tutor, line manager or the Equality Office with any queries or concerns you might have.
Trinity is honoured to have won a Special Recognition Award for trans inclusion in the inaugural GLEN Workplace Equality Index (2015). Please note there is further information relating to Trinity's LGBT societies etc. in the Sexual Orientation webpage, and further information on transgender equality in the "Policy and Strategy", "Reports and Statistics" and "Legal Protections" sections of the current webpage.
Policy and Strategy
The Equality Policy and the Dignity and Respect Policy protect all members of the University community from discrimination, bullying and harassment; this includes discrimination, bullying and/or harassment relating to gender (including transgender identities). Don't hesitate to contact the Equality Officer or the Dignity and Respect Contact Persons (listed in the policy) for advice on these matters.
The following objectives in Trinity's Strategic Plan (2014-2019) relate specifically to the attainment of equality between women and men:
- "advancing a structural change process to incorporate gender-balanced representation at all stages and levels, thereby enhancing the quality of Trinity’s institutional decision-making"
- "acting as a national leader to promote the introduction of the Athena SWAN Charter to Ireland and pursuing institutional and school-level Athena SWAN Awards, thereby providing a proven framework through which our position on gender equality can be measured and improved".
Trinity also has a comprehensive Gender Identity and Gender Expression Policy which affirms the university's commitment to transgender equality and gives practical guidance around matters such as transition, terminology, etc.
Reports and Statistics
Gender is a key theme in Annual Equality Monitoring Reports and the Board of the university has commissioned many in-depth reports on the relative representation of women and men in various aspects of Trinity life. The Trinity Centre for Gender Equality and Leadership (formerly WiSER) regularly publish research in this area.
Trinity has also been involved in producing reports on transgender / intersex experiences at the national level, such as:
- LGBTIreland Report (key findings) (2016)
- It's Time to Hear our Voices - National Trans Youth Forum Report (2016)
The Employment Equality Act 1998 (as amended) outlaws discrimination within employment related to nine grounds including gender (encompassing gender identity / expression); the Equal Status Act 2000 (as amended) also outlaws discrimination on the basis of gender, covering access to goods and services (including education). The promotion of gender equality is specifically stated as an objective of a university in the Universities Act 1997. Please see our legislation webpages for further information.
The Gender Recognition Act allows individuals over 18 to obtain official recognition of their true gender where this differs from the gender recorded on their original birth certificate. Ireland is one of only 5 countries in the world to allow self-determination of gender. Please click here for information on how to get a gender recognition certificate.
History of Women in Trinity
'If a female had once passed the gate..it would be practically impossible to watch what buildings or what chambers she might enter, or how long she might remain there.'
Thus, in 1895, the Board of Trinity College Dublin wrote of the grave dangers which would face the university if women students were admitted. Opposition to the higher education of women was very strong and Trinity resisted all requests to admit women until 1904, when women students were admitted subject to restricting rules.
Up to the 1960s, Trinity's women could not:
- remain on campus after 6pm. They could only return to the Library or an evening meeting by signing themselves through Front Gate.
- dine on Commons
- join the major societies
- be elected Foundation Scholars
- be members of the Common Room
- be elected to Fellowship
All this changed in the late 1960s. See what the women academics of the time have to say about the changes they've seen in the fantastic film "All Changed" by WiSER.
Today Trinity has many women among its College Officers and other senior academic and administrative posts. Illustrious female graduates include:
- Mary Robinson and Mary McAleese - former Presidents of Ireland
- Susan Denham - first female Supreme Court Judge in Ireland
- Mary Harney - first female leader of an Irish political party and first female Tánaiste
- Louise Richardson - first female Vice-Chancellor of Oxford
- Mairéad McGuire - Nobel Peace Prize winner
- Sharon Ní Bheoláin - RTÉ News anchor
- Gender Equality Division, Department of Justice and Equality
- National Women's Council of Ireland
- Irish Feminist Network
- Akidwa (migrant women's network)
- Women's Aid (addresses domestic violence)
- Dublin Rape Crisis Centre (for women and men)