Poor Female Representation at Senior Level in UCD


Information sourced by the University Observer under the Freedom of Information Act 2014 revealed that women in UCD are less common in senior positions and earn less than their male colleagues. At senior levels men are more likely to be hired, promoted, and earn more wages.

As of June 2017, though there are 15 more female Lecturers/Assistant Professors than male, twice as many men bear the titles of Associate Professor, Professor, or Full Professor. There are 165 women in these positions compared to 340 men. This is a slight improvement from the 2015/2016 academic year. According to information published in Volume XXII, Issue 6 of the University Observer there were 339 male Associate Professors, Professors, and Assistant Professors and just 149 females in the positions.

UCD applied to the Athena SWAN in 2016, an award for those contributing to women’s position in higher education and STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths, and Medicine). According to UCD’s submission, “Only 20.7% of UCD Full Professors and 17.8% of STEMM Full Professors are female.” The percentage of female staff and students in UCD is generally lowest among STEMM subjects. Notably, is it at more senior levels that female representation seems to be almost absent. The submission mentions that 65% of Lecturers/Assistant Professors in Health and Agricultural Science are female but at Full Professor level only 13% are female. Similarly, in Engineering 24% of Lecturers/Assistant Professors are female, also dropping to 13% at Full Professor level.

Women are also less likely to hold permanent contracts or receive promotions to professor positions in UCD. The Athena SWAN submission revealed that from 2014 to 2016 fewer female than male research and faculty staff were on permanent contracts. Women held 35-40% of permanent contracts in these areas.

Wide female representation is also absent at governing levels, and while many women sit on committees such as sub-groups of the Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion group, just one third of those on the University Management Team are female.

Female staff do not earn as much as male staff in UCD. The information sought by the University Observer showed that just under 43% of those who were earning over €70,000 in June 2017 are female. 613 men and 461 women earn more than this figure. While some of this may be due to men holding more senior positions, men and woman doing the same job do not get the same wages in UCD. According to UCD’s Athena SWAN submission, the average salary of female lecturers in 2016 was lower than males at the same level. The difference in average yearly salary at each level of employment ranged from just under €500 to almost €2500. While the average pay did not vary as much at Full Professor level it can be noted that the majority of Full Professors are male.

According to UCD’s Financial Statements for 2015/2016 President Andrew Deeks was on a salary of €185,350 per year. The statements did not mention if this included his accommodation but showed that at least eleven people earned more than this figure. However, the University Observer was informed that only one member of staff earned more than President Deeks as of June 2017. This person is male. According to the Financial Statements the highest wage of any member of staff in 2015/2016 was between €320,000 and €330,000.

In his letter endorsing UCD’s submission for the Athena SWAN President Deeks admitted, “It is clear that there is a gender gap in UCD from associate professor level upwards and in key leadership positions, most notably in STEMM schools.”

UCD’s strategy 2015-2020 states, “we will promote gender balance and equality of opportunity among students and employees of the university.”

Despite this promotion not showing itself in the wages and numbers of female staff across different levels, UCD was awarded the Athena SWAN award in March of this year.