That’s just one of the targets of the Gender Equality Action Plan for Higher Education Institutions launched by Government today to tackle gender disparity in the sector.
Research has shown that if institutions continue with current practice, it could take more than 20 years to achieve 40% gender balance at professorial level.
Key actions include:
- Women Only Posts: The Government is to fund new third-level academic posts that will be open to women only, as part of a major new gender equality drive in the sector.
- Gender Equality Accreditation: An internationally recognised ‘quality mark’ showing how a higher education institution has demonstrated its commitment to advancing gender equality will be introduced.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, and Minister for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor, launched the Gender Action Plan 2018 – 2020: Accelerating Gender Equality in Irish Higher Education Institutions.
The Gender Equality Taskforce was established in November 2017 and has worked to identify measures that will accelerate progress in achieving gender equality.
The Irish Research Council, Science Foundation Ireland and the Health Research Board today commended the Taskforce for its work, saying they jointly support the requirement that institutions must achieve and maintain this accreditation.
Regardless of gender, Ireland’s researchers should be able to reach their full potential at all stages of their career.
The Athena SWAN Charter is an internationally recognised ‘quality mark’ for gender equality administered by Advance HE in the UK. Accreditation indicates that a higher education institution has demonstrated its commitment and work in advancing gender equality across all academic disciplines. Accreditation is made at bronze, silver and gold levels.
Commenting on the Taskforce’s report, Director of the Irish Research Council, Peter Brown, said: “Regardless of gender, Ireland’s researchers should be able to reach their full potential at all stages of their career. This is essential in order to ensure that we can attract, support and retain the most talented and innovative individuals.”
I know that the targets contained within this report will effect real change. Gender inequality has no place in the higher education system.
Ms Mitchell O’Connor said she has set ambitious targets but is confident that they will effect real change in the sector.
“This Action Plan provides key recommendations and outlines a comprehensive strategic approach to help empower a culture of gender equality in the HEIs for all staff, academic and professional, management and support staff across all levels” she said.
“Gender breakdown at professor level is a key metric used internationally to compare countries and clearly illustrates the extent of the problem in academia.
“I am insisting on institutions setting ambitious targets for one year, three years and five years. I want 40% of professors within our institutions to be female by 2024.”
“I know that the targets contained within this report will effect real change. Gender inequality has no place in the higher education system.”