Government initiative to tackle gender disparity in education

The Irish government has launched a Gender Equality Action Plan for Higher Education Institutions to tackle disparity in the sector. ITV reports

The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, and Minister for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor, launched the Gender Action Plan 2018 – 2020: Accelerating Gender Equality in Irish Higher Education Institutions on Monday.

Data analysis carried out by the Taskforce showed that on present trends, if institutions continue with current practice, it could take more than 20 years to achieve 40% gender balance at professorial level.

Over the period 2013-2017 there has been a marginal improvement in the university sector of 1-2% per year on average, from a starting position of 18% female professors in 2013 to just 24% in 2017.

Meanwhile, 51% of lecturer positions are held by women.

The Taoiseach said the Government was committed to closing the gender pay gap in Ireland.

Leo Varadkar said “The Government is committed to equality between men and women; we have published gender pay gap legislation, we’re bringing in paid parental leave for both parents, we’re making childcare more affordable and raising standards and we’re doing more to promote women to the judiciary and to State boards.”

Minister for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor said “Gender breakdown at professor level is a key metric used internationally to compare countries and clearly illustrates the extent of the problem in academia.

“I am insisting on institutions setting ambitious targets for one year, three years and five years.

“I want 40% of professors within our institutions to be female by 2024.”

Read more Government initiative to tackle gender disparity in education

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