Our member universities are committed to equality, diversity and inclusion for all staff and students in every area of their work. This commitment requires continued evaluation of our organisational policies, procedures and culture and also how these relate to the student experience, and professional fulfilment of our university staff. We believe that a diverse and inclusive organisational environment – one in which everyone feels valued and can learn or work to their full potential – makes for a more effective and productive higher education workforce.
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) is an important agenda item across the university system. In 2019 the IUA set up a high-level group for Vice Presidents for Equality and Diversity and Inclusion which will coordinate the work of universities in this priority area. Rapid progress has also been made on gender balancing in the executive management teams and Governing Authorities.
Developments in this area show the commitment of the Irish universities to work with government on addressing issues relating to equality and diversity as outlined in ‘A Charter for Irish Universities’.
The EDI Group comprises of the Vice-Presidents for EDI from each institution or the most senior EDI Manager in the event that the institution does not have a VP for EDI.
- To share best practice on EDI in respect of all statutory grounds/ the Equality Act throughout and amongst the IUA member institutions;
- To advise the IUA Council on strategic and operational matters on equality, diversity and inclusion;
- To coordinate relevant activities in relation to the implementation of the Gender Taskforce Report or other sectoral policy initiatives;
- To compile and share data at a sectoral level in relation to EDI;
- To liaise as required with the HEA Centre of Excellence for Gender Equality or similar equality entities;
- To support members’ own implementation activities where appropriate;
- To liaise with other relevant groups such as HR Directors and Registrars within the IUA in relation to EDI.
The publication of the Gender Taskforce Report in November 2018 includes a number of key recommendations. It is essential that these, and other activities relating to the EDI agenda, are coordinated across universities with ideas and best practice shared by member institutions.
All seven Irish universities have now been awarded Athena Swan Bronze status, a key indicator of progress on equality and diversity. It is recognised that the system needs to push ahead with further advances in this area in accordance with the Taskforce on Equality plans that are appropriately resourced. Find out more information about Athena Swan in Ireland via the Advance HE website.
The SAGE (Systemic Action for Gender Equality) Charter of Principles for Gender Equality was formally endorsed by the Irish Universities Association. Designed to promote stronger action on gender equality and research, the SAGE Charter supports structural, cultural and political change to eradicate sexism, bias and other forms of discrimination in research and higher education.
The IUA has devised a set of guidelines in reponse to the launch of the 2019 Dept. of Education Framework Policy document for Higher Education entitled: ‘Safe, Respectful, Supportive and Positive – Ending Sexual Violence and Harassment in Irish Higher Education Institutions’.
The IUA Guidelines entitled Guidelines for Universities on How to Respond to Alleged Staff or Student or University Related Sexual Misconduct are available to universities to assist them in ensuring an effective response to reports of complaints of sexual misconduct, while also noting that the response of the university in any instance of sexual misconduct will be person-centred. These guidelines are not designed to replace existing university policies or procedures in this area, but will provide our universities with the basis to supplement or update them.
Contact the EDI team:
Each of our seven universities have a team of staff dedicated to leading and promoting all aspects of equality and diversity throughout the University:
IUA’s Head of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion is Jennifer Cleary.