Women in Academia

20 July 2017

Trinity College Reid Professor of Law Ivana Bacik
Photo courtesy of Patrick H. Lynch

Bacik expresses support for gender quotas in Academia

20 July 2017

Labour Senator Ivana Bacik has said the third level sector needs to dramatically up its game and take positive action measures to increase the number of women in senior academic positions in Irish universities.

It comes after new figures from the Higher Education Authority (HEA) revealed that while over half of all lecturers are women, the numbers in more senior roles fall significantly, with women representing only 21% of professor grades, and no woman ever having become president or head of a university.

Senator Bacik said:

“Despite immense progress generally for women in Ireland in recent years, with the highest level of women in employment ever recorded, we still have huge issues with equality in the workplace.

“For example, there is still a significant gender pay gap, which Labour is seeking to address through our Gender Pay Gap Bill that has already passed second stage in the Seanad.

“Within the third-level sector, we continue to have specific problems with a lack of progression and promotion of women, as evidenced in the figures released by the HEA.

“These figures show that while women make up over half of all lecturers in the seven Irish universities, they are seriously under-represented in more senior positions across the sector.

“Clearly, positive action needs to be taken to address this.

“I welcome the measures being taken by the HEA, meaning that colleges and universities will risk losing significant State funding if they do not take active steps to promote gender equality.

“In the political sphere, at Labour's behest we passed gender quota legislation in 2012 - this has already brought about a substantial increase in the numbers of women elected as TDs in the most recent General Election.

“Similar quotas to be introduced in the higher education sector should also have a very positive effect. I look forward to seeing greater numbers of women achieving progression and promotion in academic careers as a result."