Second HEA National Review of Gender Equality in Irish Higher Education Institutions

In 2016, the HEA conducted the First HEA National Gender Equality Review of Irish Higher Education Institutions. 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 the recommendation of 2016 Report the HEA, along with an external Expert Group, conducted a Second Gender Equality Review of Irish Higher Education Institutions over the course of 2022. The Review has assessed 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 was undertaken in close partnership with the higher education sector and in consultation with relevant stakeholders, the Expert Group met with stakeholders over June and July. A National Online Consultation was sent to HEIs and was open from March – April. The HEA also accepted written submissions from stakeholders.

The Review began in March 2022 and concluded in November 2022. The Expert Group findings and recommendations have now been published in the Report of the Expert Group: 2nd HEA National Review of Gender Equality in Irish Higher Education Institutions.

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

  • Dr Allison Kenneally (Vice President for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, South East Technological University)
  • 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 and Diversity, University of Galway)

The Report can be accessed in the column on the right-hand side of this page, along with relevant additional documentation.


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.

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