Training in Focus: Equality Studies

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In 2018, inclusivity is a word that sits on the tip of every tongue. Ireland as a nation is more diverse than ever, and the full spectrum of gender politics and mental health issues are being discussed more openly than at any stage in our Republic’s history. Meanwhile, despite our recent economic growth, the Irish health care system is crippled, and childcare supports for single, working parents remain limited. Consequently, Equality Studies are an important facet of the professional landscape.

Maynooth University’s Equality Studies programme provides understanding across a host of areas, allowing for both professional as well as personal growth. This programme is, for the most part, designed and delivered by Angela McGinn, a talented academic who’s worked in this field for the guts of 20 years. Challenging ‘fake news’ and the concepts of the cultural status quo, this course will confront your unconscious bias and perceived notions. Upon completion of the programme, learners will gain not only a qualification but a greater understanding of society as a whole. But, I suppose, you can’t put ‘enlightenment’ on a CV.

Here at, we also had the opportunity to chat with Angela McGinn about the topic. Click here to read her expert take.

NUI Certificate: Equality Studies

Thinking of applying? This level 7 intensive programme delivers a high-quality relevant qualification using a unique blend of face-to-face workshops and interactive online learning with full tutor support. This course equips learners with the knowledge and understanding needed to deal effectively and sensitively with the different equality and diversity issues at all levels of Irish society, the community and the workplace.

Learner Profile

This course is relevant to individuals who champion social inclusion and equality. It certainly speaks to both private sector companies and businesses, and also the staff of community and voluntary organisations – basically any people who want to create workplaces where diversity is valued as an asset. And why not? Varied perspectives are an excellent way of generating new ideas and ways of working. The Equality Studies course is not a sterile corporate programme either. The focus of this training is the development of individuals, team leaders, and managers, all the while providing them with a real appreciation of the importance of equality. Diversity has a huge impact on organisations. Maintaining a good understanding of this area contributes to a supportive learning and development culture.

Course Content

Equality Studies tutor, Angela McGinn covers a range of topics in this ever-evolving programme:

‘The course starts with a complete sweep of the structure of Irish society by looking at the census in detail. At a national level, we examine where we are now in 2018, and how is this different from the past. Every year the population changes and we take into account Irish statistics versus European statistics. How do these changes affect a contributing range of factors, such as access to education? We also consider the psychology behind equality issues. We look at the psychology of discrimination, how attitudes are formed, where they are formed, why particular attitudes are formed and how they can be changed.

Then, we look at ourselves. What are the implicit, unknown attitudes that govern the way that we think about other people? We all have unconscious biases – every single one of us. I’d like to think that as a tutor in the field of Equality Studies, my mind is fairly open, but it isn’t. I have implicit biases, gender biases, implicit race biases. Everybody does. That’s a product of our education and our upbringing. Once you name them, you know them; then you can adjust your thinking to take them into account. Attitudes are quite resistant to change but we can work around that.

On the programme, we examine various areas in detail. We put a spotlight on gender, and we look at tracing the history of gender and gender equality for women in Ireland, then compare it to the state of play today. We look at work/life balance, not just for gender, but across the board. What can things be put in place to facilitate a work/life balance for everybody? We look at the issue of aging in society. We have guest lecturers in to talk about disability, and then we asses the full spectrum of issues from physical disability, to intellectual disability, and those invisible disabilities. What are the policy changes there, and what things can be put in place to support people?

After this, we cover the topic of race. We look at direct provision, at individuals who come to Ireland from an economic perspective to work, at people who are seeking refugee status. It’s a great year, it raises so many issues for people, people become aware of things they’ve never even thought of before. And they hopefully by the end, they are able to have a conversation about these issues with confidence.’


Tempted so far? You will cover a lot during your weeks of training. The Certificate consists of four modules. These are presented in an open/flexible learning format, supported by four days of workshops:

  1. Reflecting on Equality and Diversity: Reflective Practice; History, concepts, and ideologies; Sources of prejudice and discrimination; Conducting practitioner research.
  2. The Shape of Irish Society: Demography; Irish State and legal system; Outline of Equality legislation.
  3. Equality and Diversity in the Workplace: Equality through the employment cycle – Focus on models and practice in relation to gender, work-life balance, age, ethnicity, and disability.
  4. Delivering Equality: Development of equality and diversity policies; Managing equality and diversity issues – Recruitment and selection, Training and development; Facilitation and mentoring.

Course Details

Starting in October, the course fee is €1250 per student. If you’re not able to pay upfront – don’t worry, a payment plan can be arranged with the excellent staff of Maynooth University. Just chat with them directly about your options.

The NUI Certificate in Equality Studies in Training and Development is a standalone qualification. However, if you combine course credits with other Maynooth University programmes, you can be eligible to earn a Diploma in Arts for Socially Inclusive Workplaces. As with all Maynooth University’s level 7 and 8 certificate and diploma courses, credits gained upon completion can be used for Recognition of Prior Learning to go towards the Degree in Local Studies/Community Studies.

If you’re thinking of booking on, click here for more information on the course or here to read an interview with Angela about the importance of equality studies. Alternatively, you can chat with a member of the Maynooth University team in person at our free Education Expo Event.


Gemma is a nomadic writer, filmmaker, & journalist.
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