Ireland: New Report Highlights Need for Higher Education Institutions to Have Gender Equality Action Plans Published on Their Websites

Ireland Europe Higher Education News by Erudera News Dec 14, 2022

Irish flag waving off a building in Grafton Street, Ireland

Ireland’s Higher Education Minister, Simon Harris, has launched the second national report on gender equality in higher education institutions in Ireland that makes various recommendations to address the issue.

In a media release, the Department of Education said that the Higher Education Authority’s Second National Review of Gender Equality, which was completed on March 12 this year by a group of six experts, highlights, among other things, the need for an action plan on gender equality that is published in each institution’s website, Erudera.com reports.

The statement further notes that the review also mentions the need to develop a strategy under the support of "Funding the Future" to address employment precarity.

Harris thanked the expert group and HEA for their work on the review, pointing out that the recommendations included in the report add more nuance to the understanding of gender equality at Irish higher education institutions.

“As part of my brief, it is essential that I ensure that everyone in our society, no matter their gender or background, has the same access to higher education, and that they are treated equally in all respects across the sector,” Minister Harris said.

He added that the review is another important step on the journey to create an equal higher education system that can have a lasting impact on society.

Meanwhile, the chair of the expert group Niamh O’Donoghue recalled HEA’s review of 2016 and said that since then, there had been significant progress with gender equality on several levels in Irish higher education. This progress, she said, has happened thanks to the engagement of stakeholders, the government’s investment as well as the efforts of many institutions and individuals.

Nevertheless, O’Donoghue said much work still needs to be done in this regard.

“The group recognises that there is a real opportunity in Ireland for higher education institutions to make gender equality a reality thereby creating a ripple effect through all society. The progress already made gives us real confidence that there is an appetite and a willingness to embrace this agenda,” O’Donoghue said.

The Department of Education said two important issues have emerged since the publication of the first national review on gender equality, such as the need to take an intersectional approach when gender equality is being addressed as well as the impact that insecure employment has on career development.

Minister Harris has earlier presented a report to the government to include state support in the construction of student accommodation for public Irish higher education institutions. The proposal received the government's approval most recently.

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