Once again, flawed statistics put out by NUI Galway – this time in European media

A European-wide article about gender bias in academia (available online at http://www.euroscientist.com/a-ladder-made-for-men/ ) prominently features Micheline’s successful case against NUI Galway and the ongoing court battle of the five other women lecturers overlooked for promotion.

It is great to see the case getting out into the European media. But, as reported, it is clear that NUI Galway still refuses to address the flawed and ‘ramshackle’ round of promotions in 2008/09 (see the summary Conclusions of the Tribunal Ruling, Sections 4.3-4.6 at https://www.workplacerelations.ie/en/Cases/2014/November/DEC-E2014-078.html) and deal with the injustices of that particular round.

The article quotes the Equality Manager in NUI Galway as saying that in the 2013/14 round of Senior Lecturer promotions, 39% were women. Why is this contrived figure always cited? Presumably because the university cares more about its image than the truth.

The truth is that because the University promised to promote more women in 2013/14, for the first time half the candidates were women and just over 50% of those shortlisted were women. But then only 9 of the 28 promoted were women! See the table below:

The percentage of females promoted is 32.1%, not 39%. And the rate of promotion of female candidates (18%) is still far lower than that of their male colleagues (35.2%).

Why the 39% vs 32.1% discrepancy? There was a huge upset when the promotions were announced and, of those shortlisted (deemed eligible) but not promoted, an unprecedented 20 appealed. So the university employed external consultants, who then found scoring errors significantly high for three more candidates – all of whom were women – to be promoted. (See http://connachttribune.ie/nuig-to-promote-three-staff-following-scoring-errors/ ) These three women were promoted in early 2015, raising the percentage of females promoted to 38.7%. But these promotions would not have happened without the appeals.

Furthermore, though more women were promoted in 2013/14 and the percentage of successful female candidates (18%) was higher than in 2008/09 (when 6.7% of female candidates were promoted vs 50% of the males), the 2013/14 round was not an improvement on previous promotion rounds (when women had a 31% chance of being promoted – Section 4.4 of the Ruling). So not only does the university fail to mention that the 39% statistic was achieved only after ca 20 candidates appealed, but the reality is that the proportion of female candidates promoted has declined over the four promotion rounds from 2000 to 2009.

The Irish Times piece linked in the article includes Jim Browne’s invitation to Professor Pat O’Connor of University of Limerick onto the much- proclaimed Task Force. But Prof O’Connor had turned down the invitation some 2 weeks earlier, refusing to act as a ‘corporate mudflap’ for the university: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/education/expert-declines-mudflap-role-on-gender-equality-taskforce-1.2214658




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