The Trinity Centre for Gender Equality and Leadership (TCGEL) was officially launched at a special event this week at Trinity College Dublin.
Building on the success of its predecessor – the Centre for Women in Science and Engineering Research (WiSER) – TCGEL expands its remit to all academic disciplines and support areas of the university, with the aim of delivering on strategic objectives to advance gender equality and to drive sustainable structural and cultural change.
Chancellor of Trinity, Dr Mary Robinson, is very supportive of TCGEL and spoke about the work of her foundation in promoting women’s leadership on gender and climate change as she launched the new centre.
Dr Robinson said: “I am delighted to officially launch the Trinity Centre for Gender Equality and Leadership. The TCGEL Mission is to develop and embed sustainable practices, advance gender equality in Trinity, and ensure a diverse, innovative and productive academic community of global significance. Its Vision is of an inclusive and innovative university community in which people of all genders participate at all levels, are enabled to reach their full potential, and are recognised equally for their diverse contributions.”
“TCGEL resonates with those of the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice, which is also a centre for thought leadership, education and advocacy that promotes gender equality. In particular, the Foundation actively promotes the critical role which women can play in tackling the challenges of climate change. As TCGEL becomes a national leader in its field, I hope to see more women empowered to play leadership roles within Trinity and beyond – and to contribute to solving the global challenges of the 21st century.”
TCGEL supports the creation of a working and learning environment that exemplifies good practice and equality throughout, based on the principles underlying the Athena Swan Bronze Institutional Award that it won in 2015. The universally recognised Athena Swan Charter rewards higher education institutions that are actively tackling gender equality challenges.
Director of TCGEL, Professor Eileen Drew, said: “Recognising the work done by WiSER to recruit, retain, return and advance women in academic science, engineering and technology, TCGEL will continue to drive gender equality and research excellence across all disciplines and sectors of Trinity College Dublin and act as a national leader in the Irish HEI sector.”
TCGEL is already making a major impact both nationally and internationally. It is involved in several EU Projects and is coordinating SAGE (Systemic Action for Gender Equality, 2016-19), which is delivering ambitious goals for institutional transformation across Europe.
TCGEL will continue to play a leading role in driving Athena SWAN among other Irish Universities/Its, and the Centre is also now engaged in supporting Athena SWAN in the Australian higher education sector. Additionally, TCGEL is already working closely with the League of European Research Universities (LERU) through its representation on the Gender Thematic Group on Unconscious Bias/Family Leave.
Within an Irish context, Trinity is seeing tangible results from its gender equality efforts including a significant increase in the number of women holding senior officer positions. Significantly, the percentage of female professors has doubled from 13% in 2006 to 26% in 2017, although there are still challenges ahead (women account for 14% of full professors in the Faculty of Engineering, Mathematics and Science).
Professor Drew added: “Inclusivity, equality and diversity are core values for Trinity College Dublin, and these are enshrined in our Strategic Plan. We strive to create an inclusive College community in which women and men participate at all levels and where all are recognised fully for their contribution to the university.”
“The underlying premise is that gender equality is not just for women – everyone benefits. TCGEL’s aims, therefore, are not driven by a desire to ‘fix the numbers’ or ‘fix the women’ but instead by a drive to change and improve the culture for everyone working or studying in higher education institutions.”
For more information about TCGEL, see: https://www.tcd.ie/tcgel/