UL tops gender equality table for academic staff

NUI Galway worst performer say women academics on eve of conference on topic

Women academics seeking gender equality among staff at Irish universities have ranked University of Limerick as the best performer in promoting women.

NUI Galway (NUIG) is at the bottom of the table, published on the eve of a conference at NUIG on gender equality on Friday.

Dr Micheline Sheehy Skeffington, a botanist, won an Equality Tribunal last year which found she had been discriminated against in a 2008-09 promotion round at NUIG.

The ranking table is based on Higher Education Authority figures for posts in universities in 2014, with University of Limerick having women in 33 per cent of senior posts – 31 per cent being professors and 48 per cent junior lecturers.

Trinity College Dublin also had women in 33 per cent of senior posts last year, but 49 per cent of women were junior lecturers and 14 per cent were professors.

University College Dublin (29 per cent) was third, followed by Maynooth University (28 per cent), Dublin City University and University College Cork (27 per cent), and NUIG at 21 per cent.


NUIG established a taskforce in the wake of the Sheehy Skeffington ruling, while former European commissioner and Fianna Fáil minister Máire Geoghegan-Quinn is chairing a national review by the Higher Education Authority.

One of the members of this review, Dr Pat O'Connor of UL, is due to address the conference, along with Dr Kelly Coate from King's College London. Casualisation and gender and the perspective of non-academic women staff will also be addressed.

Dr Sheehy Skeffington said she doubted if the NUIG taskforce and HEA review would lead to any significant change.

The ranking tables would be produced each November on the anniversary of her win, she said, and would use data for staffing levels at each university provided by the HEA for the previous year.

“This year’s figures will provide the base line,” she said. “Next year we will see if their promises have amounted to any actual improvement.”

The conference runs at the Hardiman Research Building and the Arts Millennium Building at NUIG, from 9.30am-6pm on Friday.