The HEA is committed to addressing gender inequalities in higher education and to supporting Irish Higher education institutions (HEIs) to create an inclusive culture and environment where individuals are able to thrive, irrespective of gender. Two policy documents, the 2016 HEA National Review of Gender Equality in Irish Higher Education Institutions and the Gender Action Plan 2018-2020, have been developed in recent years to inform the implementation of a gender equality framework in Irish higher education (HE).

As part of this framework, the HEA Centre of Excellence for Gender Equality was established in June 2019, evolving into the HEA Centre of Excellence for Equality, Diversity & Inclusion in August 2020. In addition to the work in the broad area of EDI, the Centre oversees a number of initiatives in relation to gender equality in higher education, including the Senior Academic Leadership Initiative, Gender Equality Enhancement Fund, the Athena SWAN Charter, the annual publication of staff data by gender.

To ensure sustainable progress towards gender equality, both the HEA Expert Group and the Gender Equality Taskforce recommended reviews of progress at the end of the lifespan of their recommendations. In line with these timelines, the HEA is now undertaking a Second National Review of Gender Equality in Irish Higher Education Institutions. This Review will assess the progress made since the 2016 Review and the perception of gender equality among HEI staff and make recommendations to ensure the continued advancement of gender equality in the higher education sector. The review is specifically focussed on staff in higher education.

The review is being conducted by a 6-member independent Expert Group chaired by Niamh O’Donoghue (former Secretary-General of the Department of Social Protection) and comprising national and international members, as follows:

  • Dr Allison Kenneally (Vice President for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Waterford Institute of Technology)
  • Dr Karl Kitching (Reader in Education Policy, University of Birmingham)
  • Dr Marcela Linkova (Head of Centre for Gender and Science at the Institute of Sociology of the Czech Academy of Sciences)
  • Dr Philip Owende (Assistant Head of Academic Affairs, TU Dublin)
  • Professor Anne Scott (former Vice President for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, NUI Galway)

It is expected that the Review will run from March to October 2022, with the Report of the Expert Group’s findings and recommendations published in November 2022.

The Review is being undertaken in close partnership with the higher education sector and in consultation with all stakeholders. Accordingly, the HEA is now accepting written submissions to the Expert Group. Submissions may be made to edi@hea.ie before 5pm on Friday 22nd April, using the the template available on the righthand column.

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