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Dublin: 14°C Monday 14 June 2021

You were probably taught by a man in university

New research has shown that the most senior positions in universities are dominated by men.

Image: sexism via shutterstock

THE NUMBER OF men in senior academic posts still substantially outnumber women, new research has found.

Today’s results showed that while there was an even balance of genders in all positions across higher education, senior teaching posts were dominated by males.

In universities around the country, men were four times more likely than woman to have the position of professor. Only 19% of professors were women.

More balance emerged in positions that held less seniority. A quarter of associate professors, a third of senior lecturers and half of lecturers were found to be female.

In Ireland’s top rated university, Trinity College Dublin, 14% of professors are female.

The University of Limerick was found to have the most gender balance at a senior level – with 31% of professors being female.

In total, men made up more than 70% of the senior academic staff across Ireland’s universities.

Other institutions 

In other bodies around the country there was shown to be slightly more balance.

Across Ireland’s colleges there was a greater level of gender balance. The number of senior lecturers sat at 54% for females when the all male senior lecturer staff of Mater Dei was removed.

Across Ireland’s institutes of technology men still made up more than 70% of the total number of senior staff – although this remained consistent across all areas, and disproportionate numbers were not seen for higher end positions.


SIPTU has expressed its “disappointment and concern at the findings”. Speaking on the issue, the Union’s education organiser, Louise O’Reilly, said:

The HEA has clearly identified an issue of discrimination with regard to female academics accessing promotion which is a matter of concern, though not surprise.We believe that this might be replicated in non-academic grades and this should be further investigated.
While the report paints a very bleak picture we are confident that this can be addressed in conjunction with our members and their trade union representatives.

The organisation also plans to write to the Irish Universities Association to offer assistance in addressing the imbalance.

Read: Minister, mother, and TD on why young women need to see more female leaders

Also: Australian TV anchor wears same suit every day for a year to highlight sexism

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