Saturday 18 November 2017

Why higher education must get its act together over gender equality - now

Our new taskforce aims to eradicate the inexcusable under-representation of women at senior level

'Gender inequality shouldn't exist in any area of Irish life. That it should exist in our higher education institutions - and it does - is doubly wrong, because these are the colleges where the best minds gather and which develop national and international thinkers' (stock photo)
'Gender inequality shouldn't exist in any area of Irish life. That it should exist in our higher education institutions - and it does - is doubly wrong, because these are the colleges where the best minds gather and which develop national and international thinkers' (stock photo)

Mary Mitchell O'Connor

From Weinstein to Westminster, a gender war is being waged. Who would have thought the Hollywood casting couch and the hallowed halls of British bureaucracy would appear in the same sentence? But if that means women's voices are being heard then that is a good thing, isn't it? None of it makes very palatable reading, because every story is laden with tales of men who are full of entitlement.

Gender inequality shouldn't exist in any area of Irish life. That it should exist in our higher education institutions - and it does - is doubly wrong, because these are the colleges where the best minds gather and which develop national and international thinkers.

That gender inequality, which amounts to discrimination pure and simple, is prevalent in this context simply isn't good enough. Nor is it enough to hope that enlightened thinking will prevent some of the egregious examples of discrimination affecting mostly, but not exclusively, women from recurring. We can't wait in a prayerful, trusting position. It's time for action.

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