Trinity College Dublin has become the first Irish University to sign the SAGE Charter of Principles for Gender Equality designed to promote stronger action on gender equality and research. The charter was formally launched yesterday by Mary Mitchell O’Connor, Minister of State for Higher Education.
The irony was not lost on me today. As I gave my keynote address, launching the SAGE Charter for Gender Equality in the College of Physicians I had two fine gentlemen overseeing the proceedings! #Timeforchange @SAGE_GEquality @TCDGendereq #SAGEDay #SAGECharter #GenderEquality pic.twitter.com/VRK5A50f8t
— Mary Mitchell O'Connor (@mitchelloconnor) May 15, 2019
There are 12 principles outlined in the charter which include a commitment to improving gender balance at all levels of academic careers; to eliminate the gender pay gap; to mainstream gender equality awareness and best practice in the daily operations of the institutions; to promote family-friendly policies and work-life balance and to eradicate bullying, sexual and moral harassment.
Speaking at the event, Mitchell O’Connor said when it comes to consent on campuses that we are "failing our students and therefore failing our society". She adds:
The fact that we have a problem isn’t an opinion – it’s not open to debate or discussion – it’s a fact. And the figures tell a distressing story
The figures she is referring to is one in four women have reported experiencing unwanted sexual contact during their time in College, and 46 per cent of those who presented themselves to government-funded sexual assault trauma units around the country were students.
Trinity College was founded in 1952 and was modelled on Cambridge and Oxford University. Since its commencement, Trinity has a history of supporting male and middle-class privilege. Influential Irish Mathematician Provost George Salmon, whose statue is on campus once said: “Over my dead body will women enter this college". Furthermore, in the 425-year history of universities in Ireland, there has never been a woman provost or president.