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Ireland dominates new EU gender equality awards

Image: European Union


Universities in Ireland take home three of four prizes for institutional equality plans

Ireland’s universities have claimed 75 per cent of the available prizes in the inaugural round of a set of EU awards recognising significant progress in developing or implementing gender equality measures.

The European Commission announced on 8 March that three universities in Ireland were recipients of the €100,000 EU Award for Gender Equality Champions, which is designed to encourage the development of gender equality plans and policies in higher education institutions and research organisations.

South East Technological University was recognised for developing the most innovative, inclusive plans; Maynooth University for making the most progress after recently beginning implementation; and Trinity College Dublin for making significant and sustained progress. The fourth winner was the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, also for making significant and sustained progress.

EU research commissioner Mariya Gabriel (pictured) congratulated the winners of the prize, adding that “promoting and ensuring gender-equal and safe working environments” was “a priority for the European Research Area”.

The Commission has made it a requirement for most kinds of research organisations to have gender equality plans in place in order to be eligible for funding from the EU’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme. The awards were created to further stimulate the development and adoption of such plans.

More to do

The awards were announced on International Women’s Day and coincided with the publication of a plethora of data and comment on the underrepresentation of women in research and technology, particularly at the highest levels.

For example, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology said that in 2021-22, about US$9 billion (€8.52bn) was invested in European tech scale-ups founded by women, but only 8 per cent of around 7,000 scale-up companies had at least one woman as a founder.

“There’s still a lot of work to be done to reach a more equitable gender balance,” the EIT said.