Wednesday, 10 December 2014
Department of Education and Skills
148. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the measures she will implement to bring a higher representation of women in senior positions in the universities and institutes of technology. [47387/14]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 148 and 149 together.
I understand from data released by the HEA that women represent 43% of academic staff in the universities and institutes of technology. 21% of professors and associate professors in Irish universities are female, with the national average at 19%. This is not a problem that is unique to Ireland. The European Commission's 2012 report, Gender in Research and Innovation, showed that, across the EU Member States, women represented only 20% of professorial staff.
The HEA has a specific legislative role in relation to 'promoting the attainment of equality of opportunity in higher education'. The Universities Act 1997 and the Institutes of Technology Act 2006 require our higher education institutions to promote gender-balance and equality of opportunity among students and staff, and to prepare and implement statements of policy in respect of equality, including gender equality, across all of their activities. The HEA has a role in reviewing these policies.
The HEA also publishes profiles of individual higher education institutions and these provide the framework for the enhancement of data-collection by the HEA across all areas of the mission of higher education, and they will be complemented by the development of a database of staff employed in the sector, empowering us to ensure that gender-equality at all levels within the academic profession in Ireland becomes a reality.