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Athena Swan

Athena Swan at Queen's
January 2024:
Queen’s receives an institutional Gold Athena Swan award

Queen’s University Belfast has been awarded a prestigious Gold Athena Swan Award, conferred in January 2024 by Advance HE. Queen’s is the first university on the island of Ireland and only the second in the UK to achieve an institutional Gold Award for its work improving gender equality.

Congratulations from the Chancellor of Queen's University Belfast

"Congratulations on Queen's achieving Athena Swan gold status. Such a well-deserved recognition. Please extend my gratitude to Professor McCloskey for her leadership.”

"The panel considers the University to be an ambitious leader of gender equality work, whose passion for gender equality is evident."

The Advance HE review panel recognised the University’s extensive experience in undertaking gender equality work and addressing gender inequality, and awarded the University the highest score possible across all six criteria.

Welcoming news of the Gold Award, Queen’s President and Vice Chancellor, Professor Sir Ian Greer said:

“We are absolutely thrilled to become the first university on the island of Ireland and the second in the UK to achieve an institutional Athena Swan Gold Award. The wider Equality, Diversity and Inclusion agenda underpins everything that we do here at Queen’s. Many might think of EDI as some modern, contemporary idea but it’s been a foundation principle at this University for more than 100 years – embedded within our historic Charter, and today stands as a cornerstone of Queen’s Strategy 2030.

“As we celebrate this incredible achievement, it’s important to also reflect on how far we’ve come – opening in 1845 with men-only enrolment for more than three decades, to today standing as an institution that leads the way in gender equality and with a woman at the helm as Chancellor. I extend my warmest congratulations to all of my colleagues across Queen’s who have worked hard to deliver what is truly a remarkable feat. And this work will of course continue.”

Adding to the Vice-Chancellor’s comments, Professor Karen McCloskey, Director of Queen’s Gender Initiative and Deputy Director of the Patrick G Johnston Centre for Cancer Research, said:

“Colleagues, both past and present, have worked tirelessly to make these vital improvements to ensure people at Queen’s can thrive in an inclusive and supportive culture. I would like to acknowledge the ongoing contribution of committed champions and networks of staff and students who build on the legacy of outstanding women graduates and leaders. Our ambitious Gold action plan challenges us to extend our reach, to nurture future leaders and further advance  gender equality.  The Gold award is a fantastic achievement for the University and will spur us on to continue this important work.”

Interested in hearing more about Athena Swan at Queen’s?
Virtual Townhall Meeting
In October 2023, the Athena Swan team at Queen’s held a virtual Townhall meeting

This was to update staff on the Athena Swan programme and gender equality activities at Queen’s. This included areas of progress and priorities for the next five years.

The recording is available here

In addition to an institutional Gold Athena Swan Award, Queen's also holds 15 School Awards comprising 3 Gold, 7 Silver and 5 Bronze.

School of Biological Sciences
School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences
School of Psychology
School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering
and Computer Science
School of Law
School of Maths and Physics
School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
School of Nursing and Midwifery
School of Pharmacy
School of Arts, English and Languages
School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy
and Politics
Queen's Business School
School of Natural and Built Environment
School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work
Our Institution Gold award application will be available in the coming months
UN Sustainable Development Goals

Much of the University's work aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and the work of QGI particularly identifies with Goal 5.

Find out more