Scope and methodology of RTÉ gender pay review criticised

Queen’s University Belfast academic says review fails to give clear RTÉ gender profile

RTÉ:  Prof Yvonne Galligan of Queen’s University Belfast said Kieran Mulvey’s review failed to provide a clear gender profile of RTÉ, including the different types of employment contracts or a breakdown of part-time/full-time staff. Photograph: Alan Betson

RTÉ: Prof Yvonne Galligan of Queen’s University Belfast said Kieran Mulvey’s review failed to provide a clear gender profile of RTÉ, including the different types of employment contracts or a breakdown of part-time/full-time staff. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

A review of gender equality in RTÉ which the broadcaster published earlier this month has been strongly criticised by a leading academic.

Prof Yvonne Galligan of Queen’s University Belfast said the review by Kieran Mulvey, the former director general of the Workplace Relations Commission, has insufficient data on the gender profile of the organisation and the gendered nature of roles within RTÉ.

Prof Galligan, who was asked by a number of women working in RTÉ to examine the review, criticised the scope and methodology of the underlying research. “The review states that it not about pay, yet it quickly becomes all about pay without consideration of the gender equality aspects that underpin pay patterns,” she said.

“The methodology needs to be clearly specified so that the report can be scrutinised appropriately. This means providing information on the basis on which the data are collected (real-time data or census data), the process by which the data are verified as being accurate, and the inclusion of assurances that the methodology did not skew the analysis. It is standard practice to provide a detailed account of methodology.”

Prof Galligan is head of the school of history, anthropology, philosophy and politics at QUB, has written extensively on women and politics in Ireland and Europe, and leads the Queen’s Gender Initiative. She said Mr Mulvey’s review failed to provide a clear gender profile of RTÉ, including the different types of employment contracts or a breakdown of part-time/full-time staff.

‘Basic elements’

“These would be standard expectations in a gender-equality report,“ she said. There was also no consideration of promotions policies , or of policies and data on maternity and paternity leave. “These are basic elements in interrogating the extent to which any organisation is addressing gender equality.”

With regard to remuneration, the review could have been more comprehensive and analytical, Prof Galligan asserted. “A gender-equality review would take account of the practices and patterns of staff hiring and pay on appointment. The review is silent on this matter.”

She welcomed the review’s recommendations on transparency and grade reorganisation, and noted that technology is opening up previously male-dominated technical grades to women. “In the next step, a more rigorous analysis of gender equality, including (but not confined to) pay and remuneration, is required. This follow-on analysis should identify the problems, the policy and practice measures to achieve gender equality, the timescale and the measures indicating successful impact.”

Action plan

Prof Galligan’s criticisms were highlighted by Emma O’Kelly, chair of the National Union of Journalists Dublin Broadcasting Branch at an event in Dublin’s Mansion House on Thursday evening to launch the National Women’s Council of Ireland’s (NWCI) Action Plan on the Gender Pay Gap.

NWCI director Orla O’Connor said the pay gap was a persistent issue for women’s equality. “It has also been widening over the last number of years, currently standing at 13.9 per cent,” she said. “NWCI is calling on the Government to introduce legislation that obliges companies to publish pay information broken down by gender.”

She said closing the gender pay gap would require a sectoral approach. “Tonight, we are starting with a conversation about the media and the arts and we hope to have more of these discussions for other sectors in 2018.”