Jane Ohlmeyer: Universities are not changing fast enough

TCD history professor Jane Ohlmeyer says that while progress has been made to give females senior positions, universities are not changing at the pace they should be.
While workplaces increasingly recognise gender inequality as a problem to be tackled, data reveals that less than one in four professors in Irish universities are female. What is more, in their 400-year history of progress and achievement, the places that should act as beacons of excellence and merit have never had a female provost.
As we approach International Women’s Day, Jane Ohlmeyer, professor of modern history at Trinity College Dublin, founder and director of the Long Room Hub research institute, and chair of the Irish Research Council, explains why gender parity in Ireland’s higher education system can’t come fast enough.
According to the latest Higher Education Institutional Staff by Gender report (2018) published by the Higher Education Authority (HEA), in 2017 only 24% of professor posts in universities were occupied by women. This percentage is, of course, better than the staggering 8% back in 2001, and cracks are definitely showing in the glass ceiling of academia. Yet, women seem to have a hard time advancing from the entry level of their academic career, where they outnumber men (51% of lecturers are women, with this number dropping to 38% for senior lecturers) to higher-grade positions. Why is it still so difficult for universities to accept women into their most senior structures?
“The problem is partly structural and partly cultural” explains professor Ohlmeyer. “And when I say structural I just don’t think that there are enough figure women in the system. But I also think that universities are very conservative institutions and for a long time we’ve been dealing with the patriarchy and a very conservative body it is difficult for women to get into. And that’s not true

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