Top academic Dr Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin is being praised for speaking out about her personal experience of harassment at UCD.
The National Women's Council says speaking out about her two-year ordeal puts a spotlight on shortcomings that still remain across the sector.
It is now calling for urgent action by all third-level institutions to ensure both staff and students can be safe on campus.
In an interview with the Irish Times, Dr Ní Shúilleabháin said she was repeatedly harassed by a professor at the university over two years from 2015 and 2017.
Writing on Twitter today, she said: "Sexual harassment in academia is a serious and systemic issue that is too often left unchecked.
"Everyone deserves to study or work in a safe environment [and] we need to have conversations and cultural change in order to properly address this problem."
She said this is an issue for both female staff and students in third-level institutions in Ireland.
She added: "This issue doesn’t just affect victims, but also impacts on the education and research credibility of an institution."
The degree to which an organisation's climate is seen by those within it as permissive of sexual harassment has the strongest relationship with how much sexual harassment occurs in that organisation. There is often a perceived tolerance for sexual harassment in academia. 12/n
— Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin (@aoibhinn_ni_s) September 5, 2020
Orla O’Connor, Director of the National Women’s Council, commended Dr Ní Shúilleabháin's courage and bravery in speaking out about her experience.
She said: "Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin’s experience shows the deep and significant impact sexual harassment has on every aspect of a person’s life.
“We now need to see urgent action by all third level institutes to ensure both staff and students can be safe on campus.
"Where an incident occurs, we crucially need to have in place clear policies and procedures that follow best practice in this area and ensure the victim is supported and protected at all times.
"While progress has been made in many universities and colleges in this regard in relation to students, we now need a comprehensive approach that encompasses all staff and is recognised and reinforced through the governance structures of the institutions.
"We call on all third level institutes to prioritise the full implementation of the 'National Framework’ on sexual harassment and violence for higher and further education.”
The Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris thanked Dr Ní Shúilleabháin for "speaking out [and] for being determined that we stamp out sexual violence [and] harassment in the third-level sector for students [and] staff [and] in society overall".