Athena SWAN

Carlow College, St. Patrick’s is committed to supporting gender diversity, equality and inclusion within our institution. The College is dedicated to ensuring that all of its activities are governed by principles of equity of access, opportunity and participation. We recognise and celebrate the diversity of our college community, its learners and staff and we seek to actively promote a spirit of inclusiveness and mutual respect. The College is also committed to identifying barriers to equality, diversity and inclusion and providing supports to staff and learners to achieve their full potential. 

The Athena Swan Charter is a framework that is used across the globe to support and transform gender equality in higher education and research. The Irish contingent of Athena Swan is underpinned by eight key principles and is run by Athena Swan Ireland

Carlow College, St. Patrick’s has been an Athena SWAN Charter member since September 2019 and received its first Athena SWAN Bronze institutional award in recognition of the College’s work towards gender equality in 2021. 


Athena SWAN in action

Carlow College undertook a number of actions from our Athena SWAN Action Plan, which have resulted in the following tangible changes:

  • Launched Civic Engagement Hub (2023)
  • Unconscious Bias training 
  • Renamed Philosophy Hall – Iris Murdoch Hall (2022)
  • Gender Identity and Expression Policy currently in development
  • Review of Recruitment and Selection policies and procedures to promote diversity and attract applicants from diverse backgrounds – (allocation of quotas) to ensure appointments of diverse applicants 
  • Gender representation on interview panels
  • Formal staff induction programme implemented
  • Dignity & Respect policy updated (2022)
  • Development of Family Leave Toolkit (2021)
  • Menopause Policy introduced (2022)
  • Hybrid Working Policy introduced (2022)
  • Flexi-Time Policy introduced (2022)
  • Wellbeing Handbook introduced (2022)
  • Right to Disconnect Policy introduced (2022)
  • Review of Bereavement Leave to extend days of compassionate leave
  • Dignity and Respect training provided annually
  • Gender representation implemented across College Committees
  • Core meeting times introduced (2021)
  • Guidelines for gender representation in College events and promotional materials developed
  • LGBTQ+ supports information included in College Prospectus and Programme Handbooks
  • To support our EDI framework, and to embed and demonstrate our commitment to change and inclusion, ensure that information sessions, training, feedback, toolkits, posters are provided’
  • HR Round Up communications to line managers to embed engagement with line managers.

Additional supportive policies, practices and initiatives are currently in development such as:

  • Gender Pay Audit
  • IVF Policy
  • EDI Policy
  • Career Break Policy
  • Employee Appreciation Initiative