Embarrassment for university as respected academic refuses to take part in ‘mud-flap’ gender task force

pic pat oconnor The much maligned gender equality task force at NUI Galway received further criticism this month as it emerged that President Jim Browne spoke of having invited gender equality expert Dr. Pat O’Connor on to the task force in an interview with the Irish Times but failed to mention that Dr. O’Connor had previously indicated in writing that she would not take part in the task force . She went on to state that she would not take part for 2 reasons, the first being the ‘road block’ involving the five women who were unsuccessful in the (discredited) 2008/09 competition which according to Dr. O’Connor means that “any credible movement forward is virtually impossible” Dr. O’Connor also called into question the credibility of a task force comprised of individuals with little or no expertise in gender equality issues saying that “if the problem was an engineering one, and six of the seven externals were world class hairdressers it would similarly be difficult to have confidence in it”.  She said that she refused to become “a corporate mudflap in an effort to give legitimacy to an initiative which NUIG’s own staff unions are already unhappy with”. This is the second time there has been confusion about who would take part in the task force with the president having previously indicated that Dr. Sheehy Skeffington would be a member.

4. Next Irish time article last Saturday http://www.irishtimes.com/news/education/expert-declines-mudflap-role-on-gender-equality-taskforce-1.2214658

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