Information obtained by the University Observer under the Freedom of Information Act has revealed a huge gap between the numbers of male and female academics currently in senior positions in UCD.

The figures show that although there are 306 female and 285 male lecturers in the university, there are more than four times as many male professors as there are female, with just 33 female professors compared to 135 male. They also show that there are 90 female senior lecturers compared to 149 male, and 26 Associate Professors compared to 55 male.

UCD did not respond to requests from the University Observer to comment on the figures.

The release of the figures follows a recent UCD Gender Equality Seminar and Workshop for staff and faculty on January 20th, organised by the UCD Athena SWAN Steering Group, which President Andrew Deeks commented in a recent email to all faculty had a “relatively poor attendance of male colleagues” despite being well-attended. The UCD Gender Equality Seminar and Workshop was organised to “invit[e] the wider University community to engage with the process” of applying for the Athena SWAN Award, which recognises universities’ commitment to achieving gender equality, according to the invitation sent out by the Steering Group Chairperson Prof Orla Feely.

The HEA are currently conducting a national review of gender equality among the staff of third level institutions. The most recent figures from the HEA from a review in 2012/2013, which was published in November 2015, show that among HEA institutions, 45% of the total academic staff are female, whereas just 29% of senior academic positions are filled by women.

UCD have outlined a commitment to achieving gender equality in the Strategic Plan 2015-2020. The plan states “…we will put in place a comprehensive
performance development programme having undertaken a full review of our promotion procedures, training processes and leave provisions. We will work to ensure that all members of faculty and staff are enabled to achieve their full potential and are appropriately rewarded for their contribution to our mission, vision and community, and together, we will promote gender balance and equality of opportunity among students and employees of the University.”

However, the Equality and Diversity office has not updated the UCD website with any initiatives taking place to work towards achieving the goals laid out in the Strategic Plan, and the current version of UCD’s Dignity and Respect policy available online has not been updated since October 2013.

Vice President for Research, Innovation and Impact, Professor Orla Feely told the University Observer “Since 2003, the Directorate General for Research and Innovation of the European Commission has published statistics and indicators (the She Figures) on gender equality in research and innovation. The figures highlight the persistent under-representation of women at senior levels. Across Europe only one in five full professors are women. UCD, as you point out, is no exception to this. We are, however, making progress.”

“Four of the twelve members of the University Management Team (UMT) are women (up from 1 two years ago), and the UMT has established a sub-committee on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, chaired by Professor Colin Scott.”

Professor Feely also said that “A highly successful gender equality workshop was held in January, and a number of actions are flowing from that.”