Gender Equality Action Plan

The Vice President for Equality & Diversity finalised a Gender Equality Action Plan (GEAP) in 2016 to ensure implementation of the NUI Galway Gender Equality Task Force recommendations and those of the HEA National Review of Gender Equality in Irish Higher Education Institutions(June 2016). The GEAP was approved by UMT in September 2016 and subsequently by Údarás na hOllscoile in November 2016.

The plan identifies sets of actions, lead responsibilities and time lines for the implementation of the various actions. The GEAP is updated by the VPED on a two monthly basis. You can follow progress on each of the actions here.

The following critical elements of the action plan are now in place:

  1. The University will provide enhanced maternity cover to colleges, schools and support units when a member of staff goes on maternity leave. The leave (maternity / adoptive) cover funding will enable the full replacement of teaching, administration and/or technical input of our colleagues who go on maternity leave.
    The underlying principles are as follows: Professional services colleagues (administration, support and technical staff) should have 1:1 replacement for the duration required by the period of maternity/adoptive leave. Schools with academic colleagues on maternity leave should receive the same financial allowance (currently €10,000 per semester) as that allocated to cover a vacancy for a fulltime member of academic staff. Please find policy details here.
  2. A grant for research active academic staff returning from carers’ leave, to a maximum of €10,000, will be allocated to research active academics returning from maternity / adoptive leave, and to any research active colleague returning from extended unpaid caring leave (20 weeks leave or more), on the basis of a short business case, supported by the Head of School and the Dean. The business case must link the grant directly with specific, time-lined, measurable research outputs. Please find policy details here.
  3. Parental Leave support: The pay savings accruing from parental leave, currently taken centrally to help balance the University budget, will, in principle, be returned to the staff member’s school / unit, on the basis of a short business case from the Head of School. This measure is intended to encourage and support parents in caring for their children, and to avoid unreasonably increased work burden on colleagues in these schools and units. Please find policy details here.

Report of the Gender Equality Task Force, NUI Galway

The Gender Equality Task Force was established in February 2015, in response to the Employment Equality Tribunal’s decision in Dr. Micheline Sheehy Skeffington’s case.

Under the Chair of Professor Jane Grimson, Former Vice-Provost, Trinity College Dublin, membership of the Task Force comprised 16 individuals (7 external and 9 internal) who collectively have extensive experience across a range of areas relevant to the work of the group.

The remit of the Task Force was:

“To consider the University’s present gender mix among staff, including academic and support staff, and advise the University what measures it should take to develop effective gender equality”

Taskforce Terms of Reference

The overriding aim of the Task Force was to provide advice to Údarás na hOllscoile on how to bring about sustainable transformation on gender equality and diversity in the University in order to ensure that:

  1. The contribution of all staff to the University is recognised and valued; and
  2. All staff are equally supported in their work to achieve their full potential.

The Task Force met on seven occasions during the course of their term including a joint meeting with the Athena SWAN Self-Assessment Team. In addition to wide consultation with staff, the Task Force received presentations from a number of individuals on specific topics relevant to its work.

The work of the Task Force culminated in a final report titled ‘Promoting Excellence through Gender Equality’ in May 2016. The report contains 24 evidence-based recommendations, each of which is designed to tackle one or more aspects of gender equality. Review the full report: 


Report of the Expert Review Group: HEA National Review of Gender Equality in Irish Higher Education Institutions

The HEA commissioned a national review of gender equality in higher education in 2015. Focusing on staff in Irish higher education, the review supported an in-depth analysis of the gender-balance of academic and non-academic staff across all grades of employment as well as institutions’ management teams, academic councils and governing boards. The HEA National Review of Gender Equality in Irish Higher Education Institutions was published in June 2016.

While there is naturally significant overlap between the recommendations of the HEA expert group and those proposed by the NUI Galway Gender Equality Task Force, the recommendations of the HEA National Review of Gender Equality go beyond Higher Education Institutions to include recommendations to the HEA, Irish Research Funding agencies, the DES and other stakeholders.