NUI Galway leads the way for gender equity

10 July 2013

NUI Galway has become the first physics department to achieve Juno Practitioner status.

The Juno initiative, running since 2007, aims to redress the long-standing issue of the underrepresentation of women at the highest levels of physics academia in the Ireland and the UK.

While women make up around 20% of physics undergraduates, this number drops to a tiny 7% further along academia at the level of university professor, suggesting female physicists are less likely than their male counterparts to progress into the most senior positions in physics.

The aim of Juno is to recognise and reward departments that can demonstrate they have taken action to address the under-representation of women in university physics and to encourage better practice for both women and men. The Juno principles improve working culture for all departmental staff, creating, for example, flexible working arrangements, provision for child care and a more transparent organisational structure.

There are three levels of Juno awards:

  • Supporter
    The department starts its Juno journey by endorsing the five principles and making a commitment to work towards Practitioner and then Champion.
  • Practitioner
    The department demonstrates that its Juno journey is well underway. Qualitative and quantitative evidence is gathered and its initial action plan demonstrates how the department aims to achieve Champion status.
  • Champion
    The department demonstrates that the five principles are embedded throughout the department. Further evidence is gathered and its action plan demonstrates how the department will continue to further good practice.

Over 75% of UK physics departments have demonstrated their commitment to fighting gender inequality by signing up to the Institute of Physics (IOP) Juno Code of Practice.

In Ireland Trinity College Dublin has signed up to the code as a Supporter while NUI Galway has taken the significant step of achieving Practitioner status.

Dr Miriam Byrne who led the Galway’s bid for Practitioner status, noted that "while it was a lot of work to compile all the data for the application, it was really interesting to be able to identify trends that we would not previously have noticed and we are delighted to have achieved this.”

For more information on Juno see:

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