Last week (26th February 2016), the Galway City Tribune’s Dara Bradley wrote two contrasting articles on NUIG as it lurches from crisis to crisis in relation to gender discrimination issues. (Both articles appear above.)
The main article addressed the release online of the report of the NUI Galway Athena SWAN internal survey file, nearly a year after the university’s bid to achieve gender equality accreditation through the new scheme. Nearly half (46%) of the total staff responded, most of them permanent staff and two-thirds of them women. The overwhelming view was of an ingrained ‘misogynist’ ‘culture of sexism’ and ‘cronyism’. See: (https://www.nuigalway.ie/media/nuigalwayie/content/files/aboutus/Athena-SWAN-Culture-Survey-report.pdf)
This information since appeared in the Irish Times on Wed 2nd March http://www.irishtimes.com/news/education/nuig-staff-recount-misogyny-and-bullying-in-workplace-culture-1.2557138
This survey corroborates the findings of Micheline’s Equality Tribunal ruling (https://www.workplacerelations.ie/en/Cases/2014/November/DEC-E2014-078.html) and, despite NUI Galway making a fuss in setting up the Gender Equality Task Force, employing an equality consultant and compiling this report, little has changed at the university in regards to gender equality. The lack of real change was predictable and confirms the campaign’s view that many of the university’s actions are a smokescreen to be seen as doing something, while not actually tackling the issues.
The second article reveals that a Dublin PR consultancy was paid over €22,000 from February-July 2015, when NUIG was in the eye of the women’s health questionnaire storm. The article notes this payment to the consultancy was in addition to the five full-time communications staff salaries.
The same week that the City Tribune published the two articles, NUI Galway announced the appointment of the new Vice President for Equality & Diversity (http://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/nui-galway-appoints-vice-president-for-equality-and-diversity-1.2550418). At a starting salary of over €106,500 per annum, this position is further evidence of NUI Galway being more willing to spend large sums of money to improve its image rather than making substantial changes to bring about gender equality. University staff need more than another highly paid manager to improve their conditions.
To read the two articles by news reporter Dara Bradley, which were also published in the Feb. 29th edition of the Connacht Tribune, click on the following links: