University promotions and gender quotas
Sir, – The proposal to resolve gender bias in university promotion appointments by means of gender quotas is ill-considered and intellectually lazy (“Gender quota proposal for NUI Galway”, April 15th).
It may provide a short-term political fix but will have a potentially corrosive long-term impact on the integrity and vibrancy of the academic community.
The immediate source of the problem lies in selection and appointments processes and structures, which can be changed relatively easily and quickly.
The problem of underlying patriarchal attitudes will take longer to resolve but will be addressed through education and social change.
The principle should be gender-blind academic appointments; a gender quota is in direct contradiction to this. It prompts the question as to whether there should also be gender quotas for the allocation of research funding, for peer-reviewed publication and for the awarding of scholarships.
Furthermore, it suggests that universities should also introduce quotas to resolve other manifestations of bias in appointments; for example, quotas for race, ethnic groups, religious persuasion, place of origin, economic class, sexual orientation and political affiliation. – Yours, etc,
Castlebar, Co Mayo.