NUI Galway to implement gender equality changes

The commitment of NUI Galway to implement significant changes to address gender inequality in its senior academic ranks has been welcomed.

NUIG’s governing authority decided yesterday to accept the recommendations of a taskforce it appointed last year to review gender equality. They include the introduction of mandatory gender quotas to ensure more women are promoted to senior academic posts.

The review was one of several measures prompted by the impact of a 2014 Equality Tribunal finding, in the case of biologist Micheline Sheehy Skeffington’s failed application for promotion. It criticised the promotions procedure at the university.

Irish Federation of University Teachers deputy general secretary Joan Donegan said NUIG’s decision is good. However, she said it is “not good enough” as other cases of staff taking proceedings for denial of promotion are to be resolved. “The issue of how promotion quotas will operate in specific situations where very few women are employed at lower academic level also needs to be addressed. A rights-based approach may be necessary to complement any quota initiative in NUIG.”

Sectoral difficulties around gender inequality are under review for the Higher Education Authority.

The NUIG governing authority intends to publish the report next week but highlighted among the 24 recommendations a stipulation that all committees and working groups should have at least 40% female membership by year’s end. The taskforce also recommended that half the chairs of these influential committees should be women by late 2018.

NUIG president Jim Browne said vice president for equality and diversity professor Anne Scott will lead the change to which the university is committed.


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