Queen’s committed to equal and diverse workforce

QUB returns as a business partner in the 2024 Irish News Workplace & Employment Awards

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Joanne Mallon from Queen’s University (third from left) with other key partners at the launch of the Irish News Workplace & Employment Awards. From left - Gary McDonald (Irish News business editor), Niall McAleer (Options Technology), Ellvena Graham (head judge), Martina Corrigan (Errigal Group), Orlagh O’Neill (Carson McDowell) and Chris Sherrard (Irish News editor). Picture: Colm Lenaghan

Queen’s University Belfast is proud to sponsor the Irish News Workplace & Employment Awards again in 2024, a prestigious event that recognises excellence in the workplace.

The Workplace & Employment Awards champions and rewards forward-thinking organisations and companies that are focused on putting their people first.

And this aligns itself very well to the ethos of Queen’s University Belfast.

In Strategy 2030, which sets out our ambition, being a great place to work is a key part of our vision. We are committed to being a leading employer for equality, diversity and inclusion with an organisational culture that supports and empowers our people to produce their best.

The Queen’s Gender Initiative (QGI) has been playing a central role in these efforts for over 25 years. QGI is a female-focussed entity that works to enhance the participation and visibility of women in all aspects of University life.

Earlier this year the work of QGI in delivering this agenda was recognised when Queen’s became the first university on the island of Ireland, and only the second in the UK, to achieve the gold level of a distinguished higher education award for its work improving gender equality.

Positioning the University as a leader in gender equality in the higher education sector, the Athena Swan Gold Award is the result of 25 years of hard work led by visionary senior women, working with many committed colleagues.

The University has significantly improved gender balance across roles and grades, with more than three times (34%) the percentage of female professors today than 25 years ago. The University has ambitions to reach 40% by 2030.

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Prof Karen McCloskey, director of Queen's Gender Initiative and deputy director of Patrick G Johnston Centre for Cancer Research at Queen's University Belfast

Changes have also been made to working practices and patterns, with the University recently enhancing its portfolio of work / life policies with new menopause and fertility treatment policies, adding to our flexible and agile working opportunities.

Queen’s has also pledged to invest in a new Queen’s Global Institute for Women’s Leadership, which will improve access to higher education for young women from disadvantaged backgrounds; showcase gender equality research across Queen’s; and launch international leadership programmes.

But it is not the end, because the Gold Award spurs us on to continue this important work, and ensure we continue to be an employer that values our staff and fosters inclusion and belonging.

  • Professor Karen McCloskey is director of Queen’s Gender Initiative (QGI) and deputy director of the Patrick G Johnston Centre for Cancer Research
  • The 2024 Irish News Workplace & Employment Awards take place at Titanic Belfast on Thursday June 6. Entries close at 10am on Monday April 8. Full details and entry criteria at