Tag Archives: athena swan

We post the NUI Galway Athena SWAN application

The campaign has been sent NUI Galway’s Athena SWAN application. This is the application that was submitted by the closing date of November 30th but which has failed to appear, or even be acknowledged, on NUI Galway’s Athena SWAN web page. This is the application they haven’t sent to Micheline and others who have asked for a copy, deliberately hindering any objections. Their action is in contrast to Maynooth University’s open announcement and application publication on Dec 1st.

Because NUI Galway won’t post their application on their web page, we have posted it below. Please note the line on Page 14: drafts of the application and action plan were circulated to all staff’. We know for a fact that that statement is not true.

If you have not submitted an objection yet, then please do. Just a simple line saying ‘NUI Galway should address the gender discrimination resulting from the ’08/’09 round of promotions to Senior Lecturer before they are given the award’ is enough. You can cite Micheline’s Open Letter for the details (which Athena SWAN have). Send it to athenaswan@ecu.ac.uk.

If you want to add other objections, like the untruth we pointed out above and/or the withholding of the application, then please do. Or perhaps you could cite the fact that no woman has been appointed to posts with any power: the new President is a man, the recently appointed College Deans have all been men, the recently appointed heads of research institutes, e.g., the Ryan Institute, have all been men.

Athena SWAN have now written to a supporter that objections need not be in by the end of this week, but by their return after the New Year.

We can’t tell you who sent us the application, but we can say we are very grateful.

Athena Swan Bronze Institution Application_NUIG_Nov17 submitted 30th Nov 2017 for print version Dec 1st 2017

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NUI Galway have applied to Athena SWAN but are not making application available!

A campaign member who wrote to the Athena SWAN board has been told that NUI Galway has applied for a gender equality award (closing date November 30th) but there is no requirement for NUI Galway to make its application available! They were also told they had only until the end of this week to submit an objection — to an application they have no access to!

Campaign members, including Micheline, who have written to Prof Anne Scott, the Chair of NUI Galway’s Athena SWAN committee, asking for copies of the application have received no reply.

We are now convinced this is a deliberate attempt to prevent any objections. Please help us ensure that NUI Galway does not get away with it! Here is where you can send an objection: athenaswan@ecu.ac.uk

Let them know you object to NUI Galway’s application as they have not dealt with the ongoing gender discrimination from the 2008/2009 round of promotions to Senior Lecturer. You can cite Micheline’s open letter (sent to the Athena SWAN board at the time).

If anyone can send us NUI Galway’s application, we will post it online here!


 

Is NUI Galway deliberately hiding its re-application to Athena SWAN to prevent objections?

On the heels of the successful #SolidariTEA held last week by NUI Galway staff and students in support of the four female lecturers who have taken their battle for promotion to the High Court, we thought an update on the latest round of Athena SWAN applications was warranted.
The word around the university is that NUI Galway submitted a third application for the award by the Nov. 30th deadline. If so, this means NUI Galway took the action despite Micheline’s Open Letter last month and its insistence that the university address the outstanding gender discrimination from the 2008/2009 promotion round before applying again for the award, which recognises academic institutions for their commitment to gender equality. At least a Bronze level is required in order to be eligible to receive research funding from 2019 on.
NUI Galway’s action regarding the application is still unclear because there has been no official statement and the application has not been posted on the university website, as it is supposed to be. This is in contrast to Maynooth University, which not only announced on its website on Dec. 1st, the day after the closing date, that it had resubmitted an application for the award but also posted a copy of its application. Maynooth and NUI Galway are the only universities in Ireland yet to receive Bronze awards. However, this round constitutes Maynooth’s second attempt, not its third as in the case of NUI Galway. Every other Irish university, except NUI Galway, received a Bronze-level award on their second attempt.

Maynooth’s application includes some impressive facts, many of which show up NUI Galway. For instance:

  1. The percentage of professors at Maynooth University who are women has increased to 31%  This is the second-highest in the sector. At NUI Galway, just 13% of professors are female — the lowest in the sector.
  2. Based on feedback from its 2015 application, Maynooth University conducted a ‘culture’ survey  that included 106 survey questions and space for detailed comments. As far as we know, NUI Galway has undertaken no survey of its staff for its third application.
The campaign suspects that NUI Galway is deliberately avoiding letting anyone know about its Athena SWAN application in order to prevent objections. This would not be without precedent: NUI Galway posted its second application only after it was turned down. Until the rejection, the university had posted an incomplete draft.

Our campaign will find out the date that objections must be submitted by and will let you know. It looks like one objection could be NUI Galway’s failure to make its application available. Watch this space!

Three years later and women are still fighting for justice at NUI Galway!

Today is the third anniversary of Micheline’s historic win for gender equality.

It was Nov. 13, 2014, when the Equality Tribunal issued its landmark ruling concluding that Micheline was discriminated against because of her gender when she was not promoted at NUI Galway in 2009, citing the university’s ‘ramshackle approach to the process’. That promotion round saw 16 men but only one woman promoted to Senior Lecturer, even though 52% of Junior Lecturers were women. Yet what has NUI Galway done since then to right the injustice against women in academia? Five other women who applied for promotion in the 2008-2009 round were exposed to the same injustices as Micheline — four of them are STILL fighting for promotion! Let’s review what has happened in the three years since the ruling.

Micheline’s win was the first time any woman in academia in Ireland or the UK had proved gender discrimination in promotion. It was major news in both countries on TV and radio and in newspapers and was followed by the release in early December 2014 of statistics gathered by Ireland’s Higher Education Authority showing the percentage of women at each level in Irish universities. The low percentage of women in senior academic positions resulted in another massive amount of publicity and genuine shock that Ireland was so poor in this sector, which had been assumed to be more enlightened. In fact, Ireland proved to be one of the worst countries in Europe for the university glass-ceiling index, which puts a spotlight on the lack of women in senior academic posts.

Having won her case and produced all this publicity, Micheline met with NUI Galway President Dr Jim Browne. She thought that telling him all she had found out through the case, much of which had not been made public and would be even more embarrassing to NUI Galway, would result in the five other women shortlisted in the 2008-2009 round being promoted. When he refused, she felt she had no alternative but to donate her €70,000 award to the five women so they could file court cases as they were out of time to go to the Equality Tribunal. When the media discovered her offer, there was even more publicity that first week of December.

That same week, Jim Browne indicated he would set up a Task Force to look into the discrimination of women at NUI Galway. He insisted the move was coincidental, planned before Micheline’s win and the bad publicity. Making things worse, he claimed to RTE NEWS that Micheline had agreed to be appointed to the Task Force. It was this claim which led to Micheline setting her Three Conditions before she would agree to serve on the Task Force. These conditions were: promotion for the five other women, correct the gender bias in the subsequent 2013-2014 promotion round, and ensure that future rounds promote the same proportion of women as there are at the level from which they are being promoted.

Micheline then gave a speech about her case in a lecture theatre which proved nowhere near large enough to hold all the staff and students who came to hear her speak. It was there that this Equality Campaign was founded to support her and the achievement of her Three Conditions. As we are not NUI Galway staff, but students, former students and others, we have been able to organise things which would have been difficult for staff to undertake. We set up a petition on Change.org, which as of this morning has 4,085 signatures; we undertook poster campaigns in the university highlighting the gender bias there. Most famously, we sponsored a cartoon exhibition that NUI Galway took down in the middle of the night but then relented and allowed us to put it up again after the resulting bad publicity.

Meanwhile, the five women had been meeting with university management to try to resolve the injustice, to no avail. In their first meeting with Jim Browne, he told them he ‘could not and would not promote them’ and that they did not deserve promotion. In the second, attended by the Chair of the Governing Body, Catherine McGuinness, they were told that they had to prove they deserved the promotion in court and warned by Chairperson McGuinness that they might not win. One of the women decided to pursue her case separately in the Labour Court, but four of the women initiated a High Court case in April 2015 that the university then sought to have thrown out. It was this hypocrisy that resulted in the Equality Campaign’s very successful benefit concert in March 2016 to raise money for the women’s High Court action and to highlight a demonstration against NUI Galway’s hypocrisy outside the court that May. NUI Galway’s response, three days before the planned demo, was to enter into mediation with the four women. But the mediation proved to be only a tactic to avoid the demonstration – the offer made to the women was not reasonable – and a new date for the High Court pre-hearing was set for March of next year.

Something else which came out of the initial publicity about Micheline’s historic win was the Expert Panel set up by Ireland’s Higher Education Authority to make recommendations on what to do about gender discrimination at Ireland’s universities. Again the man setting it up, chief executive John Boland, insisted at the time, like Jim Browne with his Task Force, that this move was purely coincidental and something he had always intended to do. The panel recommended in a report published in June 2016 (see Page 76 of report) that all future government research funding to Irish universities be dependent on receiving an Athena SWAN award. The first hurdle set by the funding bodies was achieving the Bronze level by 2019. In September, NUI Galway became the first Irish university to be turned down for the second time for the Bronze award, with the court cases filed by the women cited. All the other universities by then had received the award, except Maynooth, which plans to submit a second application this month.

All this pressure has resulted in some progress at NUI Galway. Last month, one of the five women accepted an offer which gave her a promotion now rather than backdated to 2009. A week later, NUI Galway announced the results of the university’s recent gender-corrected promotion round to Senior Lecturer, saying 58% were women. However, as we pointed out in our post, in actuality, 50% of those promoted were female. Still, this is a positive result that we believe is down to the pressure from this campaign. When earlier this year, NUI Galway announced a quota of 40% for women, we made much of how this was actually only 1% higher than the previous promotion round had achieved. With this latest result, finally the first of Micheline’s Three Conditions was on its way to being fulfilled. Though, as we pointed out, there was still a lot NUI Galway had to do to complete it.

Micheline, who returns on the 22nd of this month from her US tour, has told us that she is now even more determined to ensure that all five women who filed the court cases get all they deserve. She believes that it is their bravery in challenging NUI Galway that has allowed the changes for Irish academic women that have occurred over the last three years. So now we must all ensure they get what they have been fighting for.

Micheline’s first action will be an Open Letter to NUI Galway’s Athena SWAN team, to be sent from the West Coast of the US where she is now staying, stating that NUI Galway must resolve the injustice of the discriminatory 2008-2009 promotion round before the university applies again for an Athena SWAN award. This is her first move in ensuring that NUI Galway does not receive the award unless the university corrects this past gender discrimination. If NUI Galway applies without doing this, she will, with our help, be calling on supporters to flood the Athena SWAN organisation with objections to NUI Galway’s application. We will be publishing her Open Letter once it has been sent. Watch this space!

 

 

 

 

 

Pressure on NUIG women lecturers from Athena SWAN, research funding link is debated in London magazine

The women junior lecturers’ gender discrimination court cases at NUI Galway have attracted the attention of a UK publication in an article published last week as well as a rebuttal to that article in a letter by Micheline Sheehy Skeffington that was published this week.

Times Higher Education (THE), a weekly magazine based in London, published an article on Oct. 12th arguing that linking an Athena SWAN award to university research fundinis putting undue pressure on the women to accept a settlement. 

According to the article, Kelly Coate, vice-dean of education in the Faculty of Social Science and Public Policy at King’s College London and a former lecturer at NUI Galway, said: “The Athena SWAN programme is being used as a mechanism to bully the women into accepting a derisory offer.”

But Micheline, in her Oct. 19th letter, strongly disagrees. She wrote that:

The pressure resulting from the failure of NUI Galway to receive the bronze award is excellent. Yes, the four women have been pressured by management to accept an inadequate offer, but that is because management itself is under even more pressure. Until the recent mediation, NUI Galway’s management had made no attempt to resolve this matter.

She added:

Continued pressure related to the Athena SWAN award will eventually result in these women receiving what they deserve – not the derisory compensation recently offered by NUI Galway management, but promotion to senior lecturer backdated, as mine was, to 2009.

Below is Micheline’s letter to THE in full:

Athena SWAN pressure will make difference

October 19, 2017

In your article “Athena SWAN funding link under scrutiny”, you report that Kelly Coate has written to Athena SWAN to question the linking of its award to research funding because it has put pressure on the four women taking High Court cases against my university, the National University of Ireland, Galway, for gender discrimination. These cases arose out of my own equality tribunal win for gender discrimination in the same 2008-09 round of promotion to senior lecturer, when 16 men were promoted but only one woman, even though 52 per cent of junior lecturers were women.

I totally disagree with Coate. The pressure resulting from the failure of NUI Galway to receive the bronze award is excellent. Yes, the four women have been pressured by management to accept an inadequate offer, but that is because management itself is under even more pressure. Until the recent mediation, NUI Galway’s management had made no attempt to resolve this matter.

I accept that the Athena SWAN award cannot be tied to an unproven legal case because the university involved could be innocent, but my equality tribunal ruling has already shown that the 2008-09 round of promotion was discriminatory. Furthermore, the ruling mentioned the other women. Despite this, NUI Galway has never agreed to an independent investigation. It was management’s refusal to do this that forced the four women to take their High Court cases (they were out of time to take an equality tribunal case). This is why Athena SWAN must insist that NUI Galway deal with this discrimination before awarding the institution bronze.

Continued pressure related to the Athena SWAN award will eventually result in these women receiving what they deserve – not the derisory compensation recently offered by NUI Galway management, but promotion to senior lecturer backdated, as mine was, to 2009. I am certain of this because through my case I saw the application forms of everyone shortlisted for that round. I saw proof that all four of these women were discriminated against as much as I was.

Micheline Sheehy Skeffington
National University of Ireland, Galway

Click on the link below to read the original article, which appeared in THE’s Oct. 12th issue:

Athena SWAN funding link under scrutiny in discrimination row

Click on the link below to read Micheline’s letter as it appears in the Oct. 19th edition of THE:

Athena SWAN pressure will make difference

Leaked offer document reveals NUIG management’s hypocrisy, dishonesty and bullying

The campaign has been sent a copy of the document which details the terms of the final offer to the four women taking court cases. This document, which is appended below, was presented at the last meeting of the university’s Governing Body as mentioned in our previous posting, which also announced NUI Galway’s failure to gain an Athena SWAN award.

Since then, the four women have been under enormous pressure to accept this offer. This pressure has not come just from university management but also from academics, one of them female, with a vested interest in resolving the cases. Dr Elizabeth Tilley, who has been taking a Labour Court case against NUIG for the same promotion round, has accepted an offer made to her, which presumably was similar to this one. The four have been told how unreasonable they are now being and how the University’s Athena SWAN application, and thus all future government grant funding, depends on them being reasonable, etc… But the situation NUI Galway now find themselves in with Athena SWAN is one of their own making. The four women repeatedly delayed starting court cases in an attempt at a resolution, meeting with President Jim Browne several times. He made no offer then. Instead, he told them it was for the women to prove they deserved promotion through the courts!

As well as the hypocrisy of putting the blame on the women, this document is also dishonest and bullying. It is, in fact, typical of the way management has behaved. We will point out five examples:

1. The offer includes €50,000 as compensation ‘in recognition of the administrative flaws identified in the 08/09 SL process’. This is a reference to one of the promoted men in 2008/2009 not being eligible to apply, as revealed by Micheline’s Equality Tribunal ruling. But we have already shown  this was not an administrative mistake, as claimed by management, but a deliberate act by management to promote the ineligible man concerned so he could take up a senior management role. We have so far not revealed all the documents we have which prove this, as some give the name of the individual and we believe he has suffered enough. When management discovered we had these documents (which were sent to management when they were sent to us), Jim Browne wrote to the man and asked him to resign his post because he was not good enough at it!

2. The document detailing the offer fails to acknowledge that the women have a far greater case than simply one man being ineligible for promotion. Micheline has always said that her access to all the application forms through her Equality Tribunal case showed her there were six other men who did not deserve promotion over the women. We have already worked out who four of them must be: three were men recently appointed to the top end of the Junior Lecturer pay scale whose research brought in large grant money. They didn’t qualify for promotion according to the guidelines for the ’08/’09 round but were fast tracked, nonetheless. A retired senior academic has told Micheline he saw a list of individuals with FT written next to some names. We believe that was management arranging for that fast tracking.

3. The offer includes the possibility of the four women’s current application for promotion to Senior Lecturer being assessed by an ‘independent, external academic peer review adjudicator panel’. Well, if NUI Galway can do that for the current promotion round, why can’t they do it for the round of ’08/’09? They still have all the application forms for the four women as well as the men who were promoted – we know that because they had to supply them in Micheline’s case to the Equality Officer, who concluded that Micheline deserved promotion over several of the promoted men (see the ruling). But management has never, ever considered any such investigation into the ’08/’09 promotion round. Why? Because it was corrupt and they were at fault.

4. The document makes reference to a ‘duty of care’ that NUI Galway has towards the academics involved in assessing the ’08/’09 round. This is the most gob-smacking claim in this document. Duty of care? What about their duty of care to the four women they have treated so atrociously? What about their duty of care to all the other women whose careers have been blighted by their misogyny and bullying? What about their duty of care to all the academics, male and female, who have been excluded from promotion because of management’s sole pursuit of large research grants? And what about their duty of care to the poor ineligible guy whom they promoted and then forced to resign when his appointment became an embarrassment? Management are not really concerned with their duty of care to the academics involved in the ’08/’09 selection process – many of whom will now be retired and none of whom are going to be harmed by this. It is themselves that management are concerned about protecting!

5. The document concludes with some typical bullying by management.  ‘As NUI Galway is a public body, it is obliged to seek legal costs against the plaintiffs if it is successful in its defence of the litigation issued against it. These actions are likely to cause extensive cost.’ Thus, management first told the women it is for them to prove they deserve promotion through the courts, then tried to have their cases thrown out on a technicality so they couldn’t put forward the details of what actually happened in the 2008-2009 promotion round, and now is threatening them that if they don’t agree to this offer, then they will be hit with all the university’s legal costs as well as their own. That is both hypocrisy and bullying.

What management utterly fails to understand, and what anyone who thinks this is a fair offer also fails to comprehend, is that the four women simply seek due recognition of their worth, not compensation to make up for it. They deserved to be promoted to Senior Lecturer in ’08/’09. If that round had not been so utterly corrupt, they would all have been promoted. That is how 16 men were promoted in ’08/’09 and only one woman, even though more than 50% of Junior Lecturers were women. These four women also deserved the opportunity to put themselves forward for a professorship, as they could have if they had been promoted to Senior Lecturer. Most of those 16 men are now professors. In a fair system, most of these women, including Micheline, would be professors by now. This is what promotion in academia is really about: recognition by your peers of your academic worth. But at NUI Galway, only 12% of professors are women.

Up until now, this campaign has never called for an independent investigation of the ’08/’09 round of promotion because we believed that any body set up by NUI Galway would not be independent. We knew President Jim Browne would do the same as he did with the ‘independent’ Task Force investigating gender inequality in NUI Galway. He chose all the members himself and included cronies he could trust who knew nothing of gender equality, but would make sure it did what he wanted and no more. But Jim will be retired in three months to be replaced by Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh of UCD. When the new president of the University of Limerick took up his post, he immediately set up an independent investigation into the scandal involving the bullying of women by management that had occurred under the previous president. We now call on the next NUI Galway president, Professor Ó hÓgartaigh, to do the same when he takes up his post. He has nothing to lose by doing this and much to gain. We also encourage the four women to stand firm and let management squirm. What the four women are doing is not solely for them, it is for all academic women, all of whom deserve due recognition of their worth.

Attached below is the three-page document circulated to all members of NUI Galway’s Governing Body:

Udaras Memo 1Udaras memo 2Udaras memo 3

 

More lack of transparency at NUI Galway revealed in big way

There is yet more lack of transparency at NUI Galway.

The University has more than €57 million in a private fund-raising foundation but has resisted declaring the funds despite government pressure, according to a blockbuster story in Tuesday’s Irish Times.

The Campaign has seen such lack of transparency before when it comes to promotions at the University. Some might call it hypocrisy.

The University steadfastly claims that it is ‘comprehensively addressing’ the gender inequality issue, but where is the real change to back up its claim?

If the University is truly addressing gender discrimination, then why have virtually all of the recent appointments for senior posts gone to men? As has been noted before on this website, of the five College Deans — all of whom are male — four have been replaced in the last three years – by four more men!

I think we can all agree that recruitment and appointments should – and must – be transparent at NUI Galway if the University is serious about addressing gender inequality. That’s why it’s so shocking that in NUI Galway’s recent job advertisement for a leader to succeed President Jim Browne, whose term ends next year, there is but a cursory mention of gender equality.

Such a poor reference is particularly glaring because a 2016 Higher Education Authority (HEA) report recommended that new university presidents have leadership skills in advancing gender equality and that this be included in recruitment requirements. (A link for the report is at: http://www.hea.ie/sites/default/files/hea_review_of_gender_equality_in_irish_higher_education.pdf).

Tuesday’s story in The Irish Times reported that NUI Galway and other colleges have now pledged to be more transparent regarding funds raised by private foundations, but went on to say that an independent review is ongoing at the University of Limerick.

More significantly, that review was resisted by UL until a new president – Prof Des Fitzgerald – took over in recent weeks.

Will the new president at NUI Galway be as forthcoming? And what about gender equality? The Campaign is concerned that if NUI Galway’s advertisement for a new president gives short shrift to gender equality, then the new president will not have the leadership skills to advance such equality – skills that were specifically recommended in last year’s HEA report on gender equality in Irish higher-education institutions.

And what about the origins of that HEA report? Yes, the Campaign has discovered even more questions about transparency.

NUI Galway’s draft of its application for the Athena SWAN Bronze Award at https://www.nuigalway.ie/media/nuigalwayie/content/files/aboutus/DRAFT-Athena-SWAN-Application-March-2017.pdf implies that Dr Browne was personally responsible for the commissioning of the report. The draft application states that:

‘In tandem with the establishment of the Gender Equality Task Force in NUI Galway, the President wrote to the then Chief Executive of the Irish Higher Education Authority and asked that the HEA set up a review of Gender Equality across the Irish Higher Education System. The HEA moved as requested and the HEA National Review of Gender Equality in Irish Higher Education Institutions, under the chair of Dr Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, Former EU Commissioner was established and reported in June 2016.’

If that’s the case, then why are the report’s very specific recommendations so ignored in the presidential recruitment brochure? (downloadable at https://candidates.perrettlaver.com/vacancies/255/president/

The Campaign could find only one mention of ‘gender’ – on Page 21 of the 25-page brochure. ‘Promote gender balance and equality of opportunity among students and employees of the University’ is one of the points listed under ‘Key Responsibilities’. How many points in all are listed? 10. Where does gender equality rank? 8th. And that one mention comes more than four-fifths of the way through the brochure.

Moreover, the Foreword to the 2016 report on gender equality written by the HEA’s chief executive indicates that it was commissioned by the HEA:

‘Reflecting the requirement, enshrined in higher education legislation, for institutions to promote gender-balance among students and staff, and for the Higher Education Authority to promote the attainment of equality of opportunity, we commissioned this review.’ 

There is no mention of NUI Galway requesting the review.

2016 HEA report

The Expert Group’s “HEA National Review of Gender Equality in Irish Higher Education Institutions”, issued last June, makes a number of recommendations for Higher Education Institutions (HEIs).

On Page 47 of the report, Point 1.1 states the objective as: “To foster gender balance in the leadership of HEIs” (our emphasis) and recommends that the final pool of candidates for new university president comprise an equal number of women and men.

“The achievement of gender equality needs to be led from the top,” the report continues, “with the ultimate responsibility for its achievement sitting with the HEI president, or equivalent.

“Therefore, it is the Expert Group’s expectation that all candidates for presidential appointments will have demonstrable experience of leadership in advancing gender equality, and that this will be included in the recruitment criteria and the framework for evaluating the performance of candidates.”

The report recommendations don’t stop there: Point 1.2 states that the objective is “to ensure HEI leaders foster a culture of gender equality in their HEI” and, to do this, it recommends a requirement of appointment will be demonstrable experience of leadership in advancing gender equality.

The actual job description for a new president, as issued by NUI Galway, comes up way short of those recommendations.

The Irish Times story on the foundation funds can be read in full by clicking on this link: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/education/universities-resisted-declaring-tens-of-millions-in-assets-1.3084158#.WRqUjhwzZng