Third level institutions face cuts to their funding if they fail to address gender inequality.
A new report commissioned by the Higher Education Authority found that significant gender inequality remains – meaning women face barriers to progression.
Universities and colleges will be required to introduce mandatory quotas for academic promotion to address the matter.
Former EU Commissioner Maire Geogheghan Quinn led the expert group to examine the issue of gender inequality in our 3rd level institutions.
It followed the case of Micheline Sheehy Skeffington who won her case at the Equality Tribunal against NUIG because it found that her employer had discriminated against her for promotion because of her gender.
NUIG still has the worst gender balance of our seven Universities when it comes to professorships – 87% are men.
At the better end of the scale is University of Limerick, where 69% are men.
Head of the Higher Education Authority Tom Boland has said the situation can not be allowed to continue: “Fixing the women is not the solution.
“We need to fix and radically change the system which perpetuates gender discrimination.”
Among the recommendations of the expert group are the introduction of mandatory quotas for academic promotion.
Furthermore, funding will be withheld from institutions which fail to meet the agreed targets.
Maire Geoghegan Quinn: “I think if we were to continue on the same basis as we are now, regardless of what other recommendations are made nothing was going to happen.
“So we had to be tough and strong in relation to quotas. In relation to the funding, I think funding concentrates the mind.”
There will be an annual review of the higher education institutions’ progress on meeting gender targets – with a full review at the end of 3 years.