Government ‘predisposed to favouring men’ for top posts

Progress made on Civil Service gender equality, says top-level appointments body

Every department responded to queries from Fianna Fáil’s justice spokesman Jim O’Callaghan on the gender balance of senior staff, except the Department of Justice and Equality, he said. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Every department responded to queries from Fianna Fáil’s justice spokesman Jim O’Callaghan on the gender balance of senior staff, except the Department of Justice and Equality, he said. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

Fianna Fáil has accused the Government of being “predisposed to favouring men for top positions” as newly-compiled information shows 82 per cent of top-level civil servants are men.

This is despite the fact that, overall, 58 per cent of the Civil Service is made up of women.

Information provided to Fianna Fáil’s justice spokesman, Jim O’Callaghan, shows there are 14 men and three women at secretary general level. At assistant secretary level there are 65 men and 41 women.

“It is remarkable that although 58 per cent of the Civil Service is made up of women, only 18 per cent hold the position of secretary general in Government departments,” Mr O’Callaghan said.

“There is no logical reason for this except that Government appears predisposed to favouring men for top positions in the Civil Service.

“If this Government is interested in promoting equality for women in the workplace it should start with its own appointments.”

Every department responded to queries from Mr O’Callaghan on the topic, except the Department of Justice and Equality, he said. Mr O’Callaghan said the department told him that the information could not be compiled in the timeframe requested.

Breakdown

Mr O’Callaghan sought a breakdown of the number of staff in each Government department by gender and pay.

In the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, there is one male secretary general and one male deputy secretary general. There are four male assistant secretary generals, and three women in the same role.

In the Department of Health there is one male secretary general. There are three male deputy secretaries, and one woman in the same role.

In the Department of Communications, the secretary general is a man, while four of five assistant secretaries are also men. There are 27 principal officers who are men while 15 are women. Some 67 assistant principals are men and 46 are women.

In the Department of Transport, the secretary general is a man while there are three male assistant secretaries general and three women in the same position. Some 74 assistant principals are men, while 41 are women.

In the Department of Children, the secretary general is male. There are three assistant secretaries who are women, and one who is a man.

In the Department of Rural and Community Development, the position of secretary general is also held by a man, as is the case in the Department of Social Protection and the Department of Housing.

The Department of the Taoiseach has one male secretary general and one female in the same position.

In the Department of Finance, the Department of Defence and the Department of Foreign Affairs, the most senior roles at secretary general level are also held by men.

The Department of Business has one female secretary general and two male deputy secretaries general. In the Department of Culture, a woman also holds the top role.

In September, the Top Level Appointments Committee said in a report that progress had been made in 2018 in achieving greater gender equality in the Civil Service.

“It is Government policy to encourage gender diversity in the Civil Service, aiming to significantly close the gender gap in top positions. For the first time ever, more women than men were appointed to the top two grades in the Civil Service, in open competition based on merit, assessed by a board with an external majority.

“Though a significant percentage of these are in the specialist roles, it is evidence of the Government and senior leaders in the Civil Service support for greater gender balance in top leadership roles.”

“Just under 200 female applicants put themselves forward for top positions in

2018. Though difficult to quantify, qualitative assessments suggest that, as a percentage of those eligible to apply, they are applying less than their male peers, but this is a pattern that is in line with international research findings.”