Gender profile in top higher education posts


Sir, – The publication by the Higher Educational Authority of a Performance Evaluation Framework for Higher Education (December 28th) purports to facilitate a new approach to strategic planning in such organisations and the attainment of national objectives.

The omission of any reference to the gender profile of those in senior academic and senior management positions is surprising, since it is now widely accepted that diversity is associated with innovation.

The EU has been concerned about the under-representation of women in senior academic and management positions in higher education, and sees it as reflecting systemic and organisational issues. The OECD (2012) sees gender equality initiatives as contributing to economic growth.

In Ireland over four-fifths of senior academics and of those in senior management positions in publicly funded universities are men. Yet the Higher Educational Authority does not see the gender profile of those in these positions as meriting monitoring. Is this an example of turkeys unwillingness to vote for Christmas? – Yours, etc,


Prof of Sociology and Social


Department of Sociology,

University of Limerick.