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EWM ‘Through the Glass Ceiling’ Report
22 January 2013
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Kathleen Lynch TD, Minister of State for Disability, Older People, Equality & Mental Health launches the final report of ‘Through the Glass Ceiling: A Career Progression Programme and Strategy for Female Academics and Researchers’ at University College Cork
On Monday 19 November 2012 at University College Cork (UCC) the Through the Glass Ceiling: Career Progression Programme and Strategy for Female Academics and Researchers presented its final report and a set of recommendations for supporting better career outcomes for female staff in Higher Education. The programme was based in the Institute for Social Sciences in the 21st Century in UCC and supported by the UCC Equality Committee.  The project was funded under the Equality for Women Measure 2010-2013, with funding from the European Social Fund (ESF) through the Human Capital Investment Operational Programme and the Department of Justice and Equality.
 
 
The final report from the Through the Glass Ceiling project was launched by Kathleen Lynch TD, Minister of State for Disability, Older People, Equality & Mental Health. The keynote address was delivered by Dr. Eucharia Meehan, Head of Research Programmes and Capital Investment at the Higher Education Authority and Director of the Irish Research Council.
 
In recent years issues around career progression for female academics and researchers have received an increased focus at national and international levels, as it is widely recognised that women are under-represented at senior grades within institutions. For example, the League of European Research Universities published a report in July 2012 on ‘Women, Research and Universities: excellence without gender bias’ in recognition of this continuing concern and loss of female research talent.
 
UCC VIDEO: Through the Glass Ceiling

 

  
 
 
Through the Glass Ceiling sought to support female academic career progression in a number of ways. The project provided a suite of career progression supports for individual women in academia, which included the development of a mentoring scheme and a tailored professional development programme.
 
 
According to project coordinator, Aifric O Gráda, the impact of the project was significant with over 200 women participating in one or more aspects of the programme.  One project participant commented “the programme was a real success.  You selected a mentor, who turned out to be very appropriate, and with whom I could have relevant discussions.  The whole process has allowed me to reflect on my career and make slight but important changes. I am now a lot less worried, more efficient and getting results faster.”   
 
Dr. Caitríona Ní Laoire, principal investigator on Through the Glass Ceiling, notes: “what became very clear as the project progressed was the high demand for career development programmes like this one which are shaped by an awareness of the ways in which the sphere of work can be gendered”.
 
Left to Right Aifric O Gráda (UCC), Dr. Caitriona Ni Laoire (UCC), Minister Kathleen Lynch, T.D., Catherine Morris (Pobal), Dr. Eucharia Meehan (HEA) attending the launch of ‘Through the Glass Ceiling’– a Report on better outcomes for female staff in Higher Education
Running in tandem to the career development aspect, the project had a focus on structural issues and addressing differences in career outcomes at sectoral and institutional levels nationally.  As part of this the project developed, through collaboration with stakeholders from across the Irish university sector, a set of Recommendations for Actions towards Gender Equality in Academic and Research Careers in the Higher Education Sector, based on international best practice, for consideration at institutional and sectoral levels. 
 
The project team, which also included Professor Geraldine Boylan (Chair of Equality Committee at UCC), Dr. Linda Connolly (Director, Institute for Social Sciences in the 21st Century) and Dr. Carol Linehan (Lecturer, Department of Management and Marketing), view this policy dimension of the project as critical to developing sustainable approaches to addressing gender inequality within the culture of the academic system and achieving long-term change. 
 
The event on 19th November 2012 also marked the launch of a national network to facilitate cooperation between different stakeholders in the promotion of gender equality in academic and research careers.

 

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