Saturday 24 March 2018

NUI Galway to introduce gender quotas to ensure more women promoted to senior posts

NUI Galway
NUI Galway

Katherine Donnelly Education Editor

NUI Galway is to introduce gender quotas to ensure that more women are promoted to senior academic posts.

The decision by the university’s governing authority follows an embarrassing controversy over equality and discrimination at the west of Ireland university.

NUI Galway president Dr Jim Browne said he looked forward to working with all staff and their representatives  in addressing gender equality in a meaningful and serious way and he expected that the university “will become a leader in this space. ”

The Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT) welcomed the decision but said  the announcement ‘while good, is not good enough”,  because it left a number of matters to be addressed.

IFUT Deputy general secretary, Joan Donegan, said that the move did not resolve some issues, including cases of staff  taking current legal cases for denial of promotion in the past.

Gender quotas are one of 24 recommendations proposed  in the final report of the task force established by NUI Galway,  which has been unanimously adopted  by its governing authority meeting.

Other measures, including the appointment of  a vice president for equality and diversity, gender quotas for all committees and working groups  at the university and training for all senior staff, were introduced last year arising from an interim report.

The gender row came to light in November 2014 when the Equality Tribunal ruled in favour of botanist, Dr Micheline Sheehy Skeffington in her discrimination case against the college and described a round of promotions for senior lecturer in NUIG as ‘ramshackle’.  Dr Sheehy Skeffington was turned down for promotion four times since 200. She has now retired.

The tribunal ordered NUIG  to promote her to  senior lecturer  from July 2009, to  pay her in full the salary difference, and to award her a tax-free €70,000. The university was also ordered to review its policies and procedures in relation to promotion to senior lecturer with particular focus on gender. Other cases also emerged.

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