Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Questions (690)

Holly Cairns


690. Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science if his attention has been drawn to continuing staffing gender gaps in third level education institutions including that in 2019 more women work in part-time temporary academic jobs with the gap increasing in recent years to 71% in universities and 63%; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38883/20]

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Written answers (Question to Further and Higher Education)

The data quoted is taken from the HEI staff profiles by gender and the HEA collects the data to monitor these trends. The HEA National Review of Gender Equality in Irish Higher Education and the Gender Equality Taskforce Action Plan 2018 – 2020 set out recommendations for higher education institutions (HEIs), and other relevant stakeholders, to ensure the achievement of gender equality in Irish higher education. Amongst the recommendations, is the requirement for HEIs to apply for Athena SWAN awards.

The Athena SWAN charter recognises commitment to advancing the careers of women in employment in higher education and research, and that member institutions must commit to the Athena SWAN principles. These principles include addressing the negative consequences of using short-term contracts for the retention and progression of staff in academia, particularly women.

The Athena SWAN application process requires institutions to provide information on the actions being taken to address issues around contract type, including what is done to ensure continuity of employment. Applicants must identify and analyse issues which are damaging to particular groups of staff and provide details on supports the institution has or will put in place to mitigate for negative impacts. Applicants must consider issues such as - differences in leave provision for fixed term contract holders; the provision of supports given to staff wishing to transition from part-time to full-time work; and information on promotions. Data is also collected on academic leavers by grade, gender and full or part-time status, the aim of which is to identify the main reasons that staff are leaving and to put in place actions to address this.