Tech institutes commit to  putting more women in senior posts

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Tech institutes commit to  putting more women in senior posts


Junior Minister for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor at a conference on gender equality in Dublin yesterday. Photo: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland
Junior Minister for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor at a conference on gender equality in Dublin yesterday. Photo: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

The country’s 14 institutes of technology have committed to increasing the number of women in senior positions.

Some 48pc of academic staff in the institutes are female, but only 17pc are in the highest paid positions with salaries of at least €106,000, according to a report from the Higher Education Authority (HEA).

It also shows that six of the 14 institutes did not meet the national target of having at least 40pc female representation on their governing authorities.

Similarly, 10 of the institutes did not hit the target for having a minimum 40pc women on their executive management teams, while five failed to meet that threshold on their academic councils.

The figures reflect staffing in the sector in 2017 and while they show some improvement in gender balance in senior positions over the preceding few years, they also highlight continuing gaps.

The commitment to greater equality comes in the ‘Gender and Diversity Policy Statement’, published by the Technological Higher Education Association (THEA), the representative body for the 14 institutes.

It is the first such policy statement to be adopted by higher education institutions in Ireland.

A primary aim will be to increase the number of women in highly paid positions and broaden access to education and career opportunities with a focus specifically on diversity and gender.

Step

THEA chief executive Dr Joseph Ryan described it as “a most significant first step along the path to actively targeting even greater diversity across all 14 institutes of technology and a diversity that can realise gender balance within our institutions”.

He said it looked forward to working with Higher Education Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor following the publication of the upcoming report from the Gender Equality Taskforce to produce action plans and work programmes that support each of the THEA objectives.

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Ms Mitchell O’Connor welcomed it “as a quantifiable aspiration to increase the number of females in leadership roles and to enhance the diversity of both the student and staff community”.

Irish Independent

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