Women and third-level posts


Sir, – Mary Horgan is to be congratulated on becoming the first woman to be elected president of the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland (RCPI). Interviewed to mark this feat, she claims that, “If you do your job properly I don’t think gender matters, quite frankly” (“First female president of Royal College of Physicians is set to take office”, News, October 16th).

As a physician Prof Horgan believes in evidence-based inquiry, in which case she might consider the latest figures for the number and position of women academics in her university, and mine, University College Cork, for 2014-16 (released by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) in July 2017). Of the professoriate 18 per cent are women, followed by 31 per cent of associate professors, and 30 per cent of senior lecturers.

Applying Prof Horgan’s logic, therefore, the more than 75 per cent of her female colleagues who remain on the lowest rung of the academic career ladder do so because they are not “doing their jobs properly”.

The views of the new president of the RCPI in this regard seem strikingly out of kilter with the HEA, her university, and, “quite frankly”, common sense. – Yours, etc,



Board of Women’s Studies,

University College Cork.