"You need to promote women" - NUIG professor on how she exposed gender inequalities

Dr Micheline Sheehy Skeffington took a case to the Equality Tribunal

NUI Galway are considering the implementation of gender quotas in their senior academic posts after a member of staff successfully filed a gender discrimination case.

After several failed attempts to be promoted to senior lecturer, and discovering that only 1 in 17 senior lecturers in NUIG were women, Dr Micheline Sheehy Skeffington took a case to the Equality Tribunal.

Speaking to Ivan Yates on the Breakfast show, Skeffington outlined how Ireland is the second worst in Europe, with regards a glass ceiling index of academic posts.

She also explained how the criteria for each new post was constantly in flux, making it difficult for male and female candidates to be considered fairly for the promotion.

"I was deemed eligible three times and yet not promoted because the criteria changed each time and that's grossly unfair to men and women. You need to make sure that if people meet certain benchmarks that they be promoted and taht they don't have to reapply the next year and be told you didn't meet this set of criteria."

"It's also a culture, if 81% of our senior academics are men, the are going to see things according to that and it's not necessarily easy to break through that glass ceiling." 

The tribunal ultimately found in her favour and although the verdict was not delivered until shortly after she retired in 2014, she still saw the benefits of her achievement for future female applicants.

"I was back-paid and it affected my pension. I welcome it as a landmark case. I took it because I could see there was discrimination. It wasn't just me who wasn't getting promoted."