Tag Archives: Micheline

Government task force on gender bias welcomed, but at NUI Galway and other Irish Universities, it helps to look at where the power is

In July, the Higher Education Authority issued this year’s figures for gender percentages in Irish Universities and other higher-education institutions. Because this Web page focused on the four female lecturers’ mediation coming to an end at NUI Galway, we made no comment on the HEA report – and we didn’t produce an updated version of our table ranking the Irish Universities. But we found we didn’t need to: This year’s HEA figures got a lot more media coverage than last year’s, including Page One of The Sunday Times and most reports, including RTE‘s, singled out NUI Galway for still being the worst. It’s even come to the attention of the French science monitoring service!

As a result, we were pleased to hear the announcement by Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor that she would be setting up a Task Force and was inclined to implement gender quotas in promotion to correct the imbalance in Irish Universities. We hope the Minister will note what happened at NUI Galway when an Equality Task Force was appointed in 2015. President Jim Browne made much of the Task Force and the resulting adoption of gender quotas at NUI Galway. But where are we two years later? We have a new promotion round this year from Junior to Senior Lecturer where the gender quota adopted is 40% – just 1% higher than the percentage of women promoted in the last round and 12% lower than the percentage of Junior Lecturers who are women. If it is to have any meaningful effect, the minimum gender quota adopted by the new Task Force must, at the very least, reflect the percentage of women in the positions from which they are being promoted. The quotas should also apply to appointments from outside.

NUI Galway has a sorry record of proclaiming improvements for women and then backtracking on its commitments – as Micheline keeps pointing out.  President Browne also likes to claim that the 2015 HEA report into gender discrimination, commissioned shortly after his Task Force was formed, somehow came about through his efforts and not because of Micheline’s Equality Tribunal win. That HEA report made many excellent recommendations, including regarding the appointment of University presidents, which it considered critical in order to effect real change in the third-level sector. Regarding appointment criteria for president, candidates should have ‘demonstrable experience of leadership in advancing gender equality’ and this should be ‘included in the recruitment criteria and the framework for evaluating the performance of candidates’ (p. 47). We have learned that, at a meeting where the process of the replacement of Jim Browne as President was discussed, NUIG Governing Body instructed NUIG management to implement this HEA recommendation. However, it was subsequently ignored, as is apparent from the ad and on-line brochure for the NUIG presidency. It says it all. So much for NUI Galway being ahead of the curve on correcting gender discrimination.

Everything we’ve seen so far at NUI Galway has been window dressing to make it look like the University is doing something when actually it is doing very little. They created a Vice President for Equality and Diversity and then must have given her a very limited brief. So, as well as rolling out a hugely expensive unconscious bias training programme, which has yet to prove its worth, they have increased the number of women on some committees and on the management team, so that at least some percentages look good.

However, if you want to assess change, you should look at where the power is. It was notable in the recent HEA figures that every single Irish university continues to have a man as President – as they always have. At NUI Galway, every College Dean, virtually every head of a Research Institute as well as the Registrar – the only posts with real power besides the President – is still a man, despite at least a dozen appointments in the last couple of years. Things will have changed when half of them are women.

We gather that the final short-list for the Presidency comprises seven candidates, of whom two are women. What are the chances of either woman being offered the post?

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Hanna and Me: Passing on the Flame: There are only 12 days left to raise the amount needed to fund the documentary film about the centenary of Hanna Sheehy Skeffington’s courageous speaking tour of the US in 1917. To help Micheline follow her grandmother and tell her own campaign story in the US, please support the crowdfunding here.

 

NUI Galway will negotiate with women lecturers: Thursday’s High Court pre-trial hearing and demonstration cancelled

 

The Campaign has just learnt that the four female lecturers and NUI Galway have agreed to mediation.

As a result of the agreement, the pre-trial hearing regarding the gender inequality case that was scheduled to be held on Thursday May 4th in the High Court in Dublin has been adjourned. So the student demonstration outside the High Court that was planned for Thursday has also been cancelled. However, because Micheline is concerned that some people may not receive or hear this news, she intends to still be there outside the High Court in Dublin at 11.30 am on Thursday to explain and thank anyone who turns up.

The four women who are lecturers at NUI Galway had sued the university last year, saying they were not promoted to senior lecturer in the 2008/09 promotion round because of their gender and, with this pre-trial hearing, the university had been trying to have the case dismissed.

The Campaign would like to thank everyone who contributed their time, hard work and money to the women’s fight. It is because of YOUR commitment that this has become such a high-profile case. We believe this is why the university and the women are now undertaking mediation. It is because of YOUR support that the women’s voices are being heard. We thank you immensely for everything.

The Campaign will stand aside while the women seek what they require through mediation and we are wishing them well. If they are satisfied by the outcome, we will celebrate but not be triumphalist about it. But if they are not satisfied with the outcome, the Campaign will continue until they get justice. So please watch this website for future developments.

Thank you again to all our supporters!

The truth behind the window dressing at NUI Galway

StatsPoster1

The Gender Equality Campaign has produced posters, such as the one above, to highlight the lack of significant change at NUI Galway.

Reality speaks louder than public relations drivel, no matter how you spin it.

To wit, NUI Galway says it’s doing all it can to address gender inequality at the university.  After all, the university has repeatedly pointed out, it set up a Task Force for Gender Equality, has adopted a mandatory female quota of at least 40% for the next promotion round to Senior Lecturer, and hired a Vice President of Diversity and Equality.

From our vantage point, these changes are merely window dressing.

The truth behind the changes?

  • The task force was not independent and its scope was far too narrow, according to both the trade union SIPTU and Micheline Sheehy Skeffington.
  • The report issued by the task force suggested a cascade system of promotion, but this is being watered down. Although 52% of Junior Lecturers are women, only 40% of those promoted to Senior Lecturer are required to be women, amounting to a 1% increase over the number of women promoted in the last round.

As Micheline wrote in a Letter to the Editor last month in the City Tribune, ‘The task force in itself was a face-saving exercise, as it had no brief to address past issues. … Specifically, it did not address the cases of the five other women who, like me, were deemed eligible, but who were not promoted. I know, from what I saw during my case, that they deserve promotion as much as I did.’

  • The Vice President of Diversity and Equality earns more than €100,000 a year – more than it would cost to promote the five women.
  • Further, the City Tribune revealed recently that concern was raised at a Governing Body meeting last November regarding how much her office was spending. Approximately €500,000 was mentioned as part of the cost of the office – including continuation of unconscious bias training costs.

This is the training that helps to stop staff from giving advantage to men over women. The meeting minutes, obtained by the Tribune through Freedom of Information, said that: ‘One member was extremely surprised at the cost of the unconscious bias training and would like to be convinced in respect of the impact of such training.’ An additional €120,000 was added for enhanced maternity coverage and €90,000 for research for staff returning from academic and carers’ leave, bringing gender equality-related expenses to €700,000. The amount of money involved is amazing, particularly when you compare it to how much less it would cost to promote the five women.

  • Inspired by Micheline’s letter to the Tribune, the campaign has produced these posters (above and below) to highlight the window dressing by management.

As Micheline further explained in her Letter to the Editor, the university’s continued failure to address gender inequality – particularly regarding the five women who have taken the university to court – ‘is the clearest indication of their real attitude to women.’

PROMOTE THE FIVE! And join us on Thursday, May 4th, as we demonstrate outside the High Court in Dublin in support of the five women.

*To read the March 27th City Tribune article (‘Alarm at NUIG’s €700k bill to tackle “unconscious” gender bias’ by Dara Bradley), click on the following link: http://connachttribune.ie/alarm-nuigs-e700k-bill-take-unconscious-gender-bias/

*To read Micheline’s Letter to the Editor, see the post on this page: https://michelinesthreeconditions.wordpress.com/2017/03/27/nui-galway-management-hypocrisy/

Benefit concert with The Stunning, Tommy Tiernan sold out!

The benefit concert this Wednesday at the Black Box is sold out.

The concert has been sold out for more than a week and both the organisers and the Town Hall Theatre Box Office have been turning ever-increasing numbers of people away.

Rose Foley, one of the organisers, commented, ‘The concert really seems to have caught people’s attention. There are 800 tickets and all of them started selling really quickly a couple of weeks back.  Now I figure we could have sold them twice over.’

It is a unique line-up. The Stunning have not played Galway since their amazing outdoor concert in the harbour for the Volvo Ocean Race in 2012, and they have never done a concert with comedian Tommy Tiernan. The line-up is completed by My Fellow Sponges, a band which is especially popular with NUI Galway students. They are all doing the benefit to support the five female lecturers taking legal cases for gender discrimination against NUI Galway.

‘I really appreciate what Tommy and the musicians are doing,’ Dr Micheline Sheehy Skeffington said. ‘Not only will we raise a lot of money for the women’s legal bills, but the concert has raised awareness of the High Court case that is happening on May 4th. I was particularly impressed with how Tommy agreed to do it. We wrote him a long e-mail explaining what it was all about and got one line back saying “I’m good to go!” ‘

If there are any supporters who have tickets they cannot use, they can return them to the campaign or if tickets were to be collected, let the campaign know whose name they were reserved under and we can re-use them.

And thank you for all your support!

NUI Galway management = Hypocrisy

Hypocrisy seems to be de riguer at NUI Galway.

On Wednesday, NUI Galway President Jim Browne revealed at his biannual speech the university’s hypocritical stance regarding the treatment of female staff, particularly the women who have sued the university in the High Court for gender discrimination, and then on Friday, Micheline further exposed the university’s hypocritical attitude towards the women in a Letter to the Editor in the Galway City Tribune.

Dr Browne gave his biannual speech to all NUI Galway staff last Wednesday and three women, including Micheline, stood up to raise the issue of the High Court gender discrimination case against the university and the dire treatment of women generally by NUI Galway positions. His response was interesting, to say the least.

The women highlighted that the case has been fought for 2 years, 4 months. They emphasised the ‘human cost’ as well as the ‘stress and strain’ caused by the case, saying it is ‘financially draining’ and an ‘emotionally and mentally crushing process.’

We are ‘putting our careers, wellbeing and finances on the line to fight for what is right,’ one of the women said, adding that the sacrifice is ‘not only for ourselves but, more importantly, for others.’

In the past, Dr Browne has responded to such statements with obvious annoyance, even outright anger.

This time, he claimed heartfelt concern.

‘I regret to the core what the five women are going through,’ he told them and added that he wished he could help them but he was unable to do anything about it, explaining that ‘the issue is very complicated.’

Really?

He has said in the past that ‘I can’t and won’t promote them’ and that it is for the women to prove they deserve promotion in court. That’s why the women filed the court case in the first place. Yet, instead of allowing the case to continue and let the facts come out, the university is dragging out the process – using taxpayers’ money while the women have to fund raise to pay their costs.

At the request of the university, a pre-trial hearing has been scheduled for Thursday, May 4th in the High Court. Such a hearing will look only at the case’s legal basis – not the facts. In short, the hearing is merely an attempt to have the women’s court case thrown out so that the facts won’t be revealed to the public and the women won’t be able to prove that they were discriminated against.

According to The Irish Times, the preliminary issues centre on whether the lecturers’ claims can be dealt with by the High Court or must they be first determined by the Workplace Relations Commission and/or Circuit Court. Two years and four months later, this is where the case stands?

But wait, the hypocrisy at NUIG continues.

Mich letter

In a Letter to the Editor (reprinted in full above) in the most recent edition of the Galway City Tribune, Micheline exposed the hyprocrisy of NUI Galway management regarding the treatment of women at the university.

Micheline referred to an article in the March 17th edition in which NUI Galway rejected Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh’s claim that the university has done little for the female staff in the last two years.

According to the article (“We’re taking action,” Page 15), the university said it is ‘comprehensively addressing the issue at all levels.’

However, Micheline refuted this statement, saying, ‘Yet I see no evidence that key “college decision-making bodies” come anywhere near having the 40% of female representation they claim.’

Micheline pointed out that:

  1. In the past three years, four of the five male College Deans have been replaced – by four more men. (The College Deans are the Deans with the real power at the university.)
  2. The Academic Council, the top academic decision-making body, is still at least 80 percent male.
  3. More than 95% of new directors of Institutes and research programmes at the university are men.
  4. July 2016 HEA figures show that NUI Galway ranks a clear last of all third-level institutions with 21% female senior staff (Senior Lecturers and Professors).
  5. The mandatory 40% female quota being adopted for the next promotion round is only 1% higher than the percentage of women promoted in the last round.

‘The continued failure of NUI Galway to address this injustice is the clearest indication of their real attitude to women,’ she wrote.

She said, in fact, the university is doing all it can to prevent the five women from getting justice. That’s why the benefit concert is being held on Wednesday, March 29th at the Black Box. It is not just about raising money but also awareness of what is happening. And that’s why the Students’ Union is providing buses to Dublin on May 4th so that students can protest outside the High Court. The demonstration is being held precisely to highlight the hypocrisy of what NUI Galway are attempting to do. Please come and join us and the students! 12 noon at the High Court, May 4th! We will be arranging our own bus for supporters.

 

Video is ‘Brewing Up a Storm’ for NUIG 5 benefit concert

Here’s our great new video made for us by Eddie Mullarkey. You can help the campaign by sharing it or sharing our Facebook events page where it also appears at https://www.facebook.com/events/668169246701296/?active_tab=discussion.

The benefit concert will feature The Stunning along with My Fellow Sponges. The MC for the event will be comedian Tommy Tiernan, so expect the unexpected! You can buy tickets at the Town Hall Theatre box office or online here at:  https://tht.ie/2655/benefit-concert

The concert will be held Wednesday, March 29th, at The Black Box in Galway. The event will raise funds to support court cases filed by the 5 women lecturers at NUI Galway who are fighting for their right to be promoted.

In the 2.34-minute video, Dr Micheline Sheehy Skeffington eloquently states the history of the injustices committed against the five women, who have taken NUI Galway to court over the university’s refusal to promote them to senior lecturer in 2009. In addition, two NUI Galway students passionately voice their support for the women lecturers and their right to be promoted. Micheline states that the concert is being held to help with the women’s court expenses as well as to provide moral support for what they are going through in their battle for equal rights.

See for yourself by clicking on the above video.
CHECK OUT FURTHER UPDATES ON THE BENEFIT GIG ON OUR FACEBOOK PAGE  -PLEASE LIKE, ADD A COMMENT AND SHARE:  https://www.facebook.com/events/668169246701296/
poster

Comedian Tommy Tiernan will emcee a benefit concert for the five women lecturers who have been forced to take court cases against NUI Galway to fight for their rights.

Benefit concert announced! Tiernan to host; The Stunning, My Fellow Sponges featured

UPDATE:FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE BENEFIT GIG, CHECK OUT OUR FACEBOOK PAGE AT https://www.facebook.com/events/668169246701296/

AND PLEASE SHARE THE LINK WITH FRIENDS! THE MORE PEOPLE WHO KNOW ABOUT THE CONCERT, THE MORE WHO WILL COME TO OFFER SUPPORT. WE THANK  YOU – AND THE 5 NUI GALWAY WOMEN LECTURERS THANK YOU. 

Save the date: Wednesday, March 29th!

Three local acts — The Stunning, Tommy Tiernan and My Fellow Sponges — will play a benefit concert supported by the NUI Galway Students’ Union with all proceeds going towards the legal costs of the five women taking court cases against NUI Galway. The concert will be held at The Black Box on Wednesday 29th March.

And we can use your help!

We need as many people as possible at the concert. If you can come, please do. Tickets are available at the Town Hall Theatre box office or online at http://tht.ie/.

OF MOST USE: IF YOU CAN TAKE SOME TICKETS FROM US AND SELL THEM TO YOUR FRIENDS.

If you want to do this, just write to mich3c@gmail.com with your contact details and we’ll get back to you. And thank you in advance.

Update: We are also looking for sponsors for the concert as well as prizes for a raffle. Sponsors can be large businesses, small shops or individuals. If anyone can help with sponsorship, please write to mich3c@gmail.com.

The Stunning have not returned to play in Galway since their amazing outdoor concert in the harbour for the Volvo Ocean race in 2012. Tommy has a TV show and is filling venues around the country. My Fellow Sponges are a favourite band of NUI Galway students. What they all have in common is they want to put right the injustice being suffered by the five female lecturers because of NUI Galway’s intransigence.

Four of the five women lecturers are taking NUI Galway to the High Court. The first hearing is on Thursday, May 4th, when NUI Galway’s lawyers will attempt to have the cases thrown out on legal arguments alone. The fifth woman has been fighting NUI Galway in the Labour Court.

Tommy, the emcee for the benefit concert, will galvanise NUI Galway students to join the demonstration outside the High Court in Dublin against the university on May 4th. NUI Galway Students’ Union are providing free coaches.

“What NUI Galway is doing is deeply hypocritical,” said Dr Micheline Sheehy Skeffington. “First, they told the women they needed to prove their cases in court and now they are attempting to have those cases thrown out without them being heard. They claim this is because it will save money, but really it’s because of the scandal which will come out in open court if the women are allowed to present the details.”

These were the five women shortlisted and not promoted along with Micheline, who won an Equality Tribunal case in 2014 against NUI Galway for gender discrimination. Micheline says the case allowed her to see the application forms of all the shortlisted candidates; consequently, she knows these five women deserve to be promoted as much as she did. In that round, 16 men were promoted and only 1 woman, even though 52% of the Junior Lecturers eligible to apply were female.

Please help us make this benefit concert a success. Your support is greatly appreciated.