Fifty-seven per cent of all full-time students are women. Yet, when it comes to employment whether in the public or private sector, women's representation in senior educational or managerial positions is well below this figure. For example, according to the HEA (Higher Education Authority), in 2000 in Higher Education, only 7% of Professors, 8% Associate Professors and 17.5% Senior Lecturers were female, and in the Private Sector the figures are similar. According to the IBEC National Survey 2001, of Chief Executives, 8% were female and Senior Managers/Heads of Functions 21% were female.
A conference entitled "Gender Matters in Higher Education", which will address these issues will take place in NUI Galway on the 8th - 9th November, 2002. The conference will be officially opened by Michael D. Higgins T.D., in the Ó Tnúthail Theatre, Arts Millennium Building on Friday, 8 November at 7.00 p.m. The keynote speaker will be Professor Áine Hyland, Vice-President of University College, Cork.
Education is a human right and an essential tool for achieving the goals of equality, development and peace (Beijing Platform for Action, paragraph 69). It is the single most important factor associated with demographic and economic change for women in Ireland. This is a pattern repeated globally. Investing in formal and non-formal education and training for girls and women has proved to be one of the best means of achieving sustainable development and economic growth.
Despite the appearance of gender neutrality, education within Ireland is still highly gendered. Strong differences are apparent between managers and managed, in choice of career studies and in the teaching and medical professions. The NUI, Galway conference will highlight the current gender discrimination in the higher education sector for staff and students and discuss initiatives that could address the imbalance, concluding with a 'Plan for Action' session.
Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI Galway. Tel. 091-750418