Despite widespread backing for gender equality reform amongst staff, the launching of a campaign by students backed by 25 societies and continued bad publicity, the management of NUI Galway continues to ignore the demands for change. Those in the higher ranks of the university seem to feel that there is no real issue to address and that it will all blow over without any real action needing to be taken. As a result, an alliance has formed amongst students, staff and alumni who intend to demonstrate to the university how important this issue is and that it is one that will not simply go away. A demonstration will take place outside a special meeting of the Governing Body of NUI Galway, which is in the Aula Maxima and starts at 10am. The aim will be to show the depth of feeling that exists about the blatant discrimination against women in senior roles at NUI Galway and to demand the Governing Body tells the university management to put it right. Students and Staff want the Governing Body to set the university clear goals for gender balance in all senior posts and roles, and to tell the management to promote the five women lecturers not promoted with Micheline in 2009 and the 17 not promoted in 2014.
Discrimination has been widespread in the university for the last 30 years and has led to a situation where it now has one of the worst glass ceiling indexes in all of Europe. The case of Micheline and Mary Dempsey have brought to the public’s attention, just how bad things have become. Rather than respond with any concrete steps to make improvements, the university has instead responded with indifference, hollow pledges or hostility towards those brave enough to speak up about the discrimination they have experienced.
It is an open secret within the university that a promotion process described as ‘ramshackle’ by the Equality Tribunal in fact represents a deeply ingrained culture of old boy’s club cronyism which rules according to its own criteria, where men can be promoted without even reaching the basic requirement for shortlisting while women with years of experience and knowledge are passed over again and again without a second thought.
This is a university where a woman can be effectively demoted whilst on maternity leave, spend years fighting and winning a case at the Equality Tribunal only for the powers that be to appeal the ruling and continue to spend thousands of euro on legal fees fighting the right to equal treatment.
This is a university where almost every position of authority is held by a man who then expect to be taken seriously as they proclaim that how they came to have that position was through a fair and transparent process.
Is this a university you want to be a part of?
Are you content to see these practices continue for another 30 years?
Change is not going to come from within the mechanism that maintains the inequality
It will only come when enough voices are heard to demand it
This Friday is a chance to show that.
Join the event on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/events/641125606015636/