Colleges are criticised for having too few women in senior roles
The Higher Education Authority (HEA) has criticised third-level colleges for a continuing "significant lack of representation" of women in key senior roles.
There were only "small improvements", of less than 2pc, between 2015 and 2016 in addressing the under-representation of females in academic and decision-making roles in higher education, according to a HEA report.
The report said although there was "a step in the right direction", these improvements were marginal.
In one example, while 54pc of university staff and 50pc of institute of technology staff are female, they account for only 44pc of academic staff.
Other gender imbalances highlighted in the report included:
- Only 21pc of university professors were female;
- There is no female president in any of the country's seven universities, and only three of 14 institutes of technology are led by women;
- Only 29pc of the highest paid - with salaries of more than €106,000 - non-academic staff in the universities were female and 17pc in the institutes of technology;
- Only four out of seven university governing authorities and 10 out of 14 institutes of technology met the target of a minimum 40pc of each gender;
- None of the executive management teams in the university sector, and only three institutes of technology, met the 40pc gender target.
HEA chief executive Dr Graham Love acknowledged there were "small steps" in starting to address gender inequality among senior staff and on management and governance boards. But he said that continued strong commitment and leadership needed to be demonstrated if "real and meaningful" progress was to be made.
A number of universities told the Irish Independent that they were working to improve gender balance.