Ireland recognises that for Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to perform to their full potential, they need to address the persistent under-representation of women at senior academic levels and increase the numbers of female senior academics in decision-making processes in HEIs. Ireland aims to be a ‘world-leading country for gender equality in higher education by 2026’ as stated in the government’s Gender Equality Taskforce Action Plan 2018-2020.
Now, Ireland is leading the drive to accelerate gender balance at the highest point of the academic career path through a government-backed scheme, focused on attracting outstanding female academics in Ireland and globally to avail of this unique opportunity to experience working within the higher education sector in Ireland.
The Senior Academic Leadership Initiative (SALI) aims to help achieve equality of outcome in the higher education sector. New and additional senior academic leadership posts have been funded in areas where:
- there is clear evidence of significant gender under-representation;
- where this appointment will have significant impact within the faculty/department/functional unit and the HEI;
- where they would be a proportionate and effective means to achieve accelerate and sustainable change within an institution.
These posts are new and additional to the sector, and they will be funded through new and additional funding provided specifically to help progress gender balance among academic staff at senior levels.
The key objective of this initiative is to attract outstanding female applicants both nationally and internationally. The initiative will also assist in increasing the number of women involved in the decision-making processes in the institutions, as advocated in the EU Commission Strategy on Promoting Equality in Decision Making. In securing posts under this initiative, Maynooth University has demonstrated its commitment to gender equality. Our institution has demonstrable plans for future developments in this area and has outlined the organisational and cultural initiatives in place to support the newly appointed staff.
In line with the objectives of the Higher Education Authority SALI Call 2019, applications from highly qualified female candidates will be prioritised within the boundary of what is legally permissible, in order to address their underrepresentation. In exceptional circumstances, applications from candidates who are in a minority or protected under Irish social legislation, or who also belong to an underrepresented minority in academic posts may be considered if the institution can clearly articulate reasons worthy of legal protection as to why they should be considered.