Improve gender balance in Irish HE or face fines, says review

Published yesterday (28th June) in the Times Higher, Jack Grove discusses proposed new reforms designed to improve gender equality at Irish Universities.

‘As part of plans put forward by an expert group commissioned by the Republic of Ireland’s Higher Education Authority, all higher education institutions would face financial penalties if they did not meet targets on gender equality agreed with the funding body. Institutions would also be unable to apply for research funding if they failed to achieve at least a Silver Athena SWAN award within seven years, the group has recommended. Other recommendations from the long-awaited national review of gender equality in Irish higher education, which was published on 27 June, include having mandatory quotas for academic promotion and asking university presidential candidates to demonstrate their experience in advancing gender equality.’

What do you think?  Are reforms needed to speed up the move towards greater gender equality?


Has Twitter transformed the PhD experience?

Published on 12th March in the Times Higher, Jack Grove discusses Twitter and how it has changed the PhD experience:

‘Just a few weeks after Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey sent the platform’s first tweet in March 2006, the social media network gained its first PhD student. Indiana University computer science student Andrew Keep (@andykeep), now a software engineer at Cisco, is listed among the first 100 people to have signed up to the fledgling site, which now has 320 million monthly users. Dr Keep is still an occasional tweeter, broadcasting his thoughts on everything from home baking and everyday irritations to computer coding formulas, much like the hundreds of thousands of PhD students to have embraced the medium since then. But some advocates of Twitter, which celebrates its 10th anniversary on 21 March, believe its influence on PhD candidates has been more profound than just providing a way for them to let off steam or catch up with friends. For many, Twitter has transformed the PhD experience altogether……………………..’

What are your experiences of Twitter? Has it transformed your experience of doing a PhD?  Or are you a post doc/lecturer? Has it increased the visibility of your research and enabled you to network in a way that would not have been possible a few years ago?


More women in senior university jobs, says report

Published in the Times Higher on 2nd March, Jack Grove highlights analysis which shows an increase in the proportion of women in management or governor roles.

The pipeline is looking quite healthy, but the real crunch is at professorial level, where only 23 per cent are women” (Norma Jarboe, director of Women Count, a not-for-profit organisation that indexes gender representation in public, private and third-sector bodies and who have published Women Count: Leaders in Higher Education 2016)

Female academic leaders suffer more from ‘workaholic’ hours culture

Published in the Times Higher today – ‘About two-thirds of female academic leaders are unhappy with their work-life balance, with 85 per cent regularly working beyond normal contracted hours each week, a major survey indicates…… Some 23 per cent of female academic leaders who responded to the poll said that they felt unable to cope with the pressure and stress caused by their jobs – roughly double the proportion of men who expressed this view……’

Is this how you feel? What can be done about this?

What time do you think it's safe for me to leave work?

What time do you think it’s safe for me to leave work?


‘Striking’ inequalities in higher education fuel gender pay gap

A new report highlighted yesterday by Jack Grove in the Times Higher indicates that ‘the UK’s female academics are paid £6,146 less on average than men, with lack of women in leadership and management roles a factor.’

‘Twice as many male academics as female scholars earn more than £50,000 a year, new figures on academia’s gender pay gap show.  Some 37,425 male academics are paid at least £50,000, compared with just 17,415 female academics – a ratio of more than two to one, according a new analysis of 2013-14 data by the Equality Challenge Unit.  It means that despite making up 55.4 per cent of the workforce, 68.2 per cent of higher earners in academia are men, says the ECU’s Equality in Higher Education: Statistical Report 2015, due to be published on 9 November……’

Social scientists asked to comment on early career support

Published in the Times Higher on the 11th October, Jack Grove highlights a survey being undertaken by the new Centre for Global Higher Education at UCL.  Early career social scientists are being invited to comment on the support they have received since completing their doctorate in order to improve support for those people just starting out in academia. ‘Any social scientists who were awarded their doctorate within the past eight years are asked to complete the survey at


Is flexible working holding back women’s careers?

Published today (23rd July) in the Times Higher, Jack Grove examines whether flexible working is holding back women’s careers.

‘Letting people work hours that help them juggle childcare and professional commitments would seem like an unqualified good for university staff. But flexible working can also be a “double-edged sword”, with adverse consequences on women’s long-term career prospects, a major new study has warned. In a report published last week, the New Joint Negotiating Committee for Higher Education Staff’s working group on gender pay says there is a “misperception of the value of flexible workers” at some institutions that meant that “some individuals…could be seen as less promotable because they work flexibly”. That harmful view is more likely to affect women than men, says the group, which included representatives from universities, trade unions and the Equality Challenge Unit…………….’

Follow this link to read more – Times Higher

flexible working








Would you consider flexible working?  Does this work for you?

UCU calls for wage audits as gender pay gap endures

Analysis in THE reveals progress in closing the wage gap, but female academics still earn nearly £6K less than men.  The full article by Jack Grove can be seen here –

‘Female academics are still paid about £5,700 less than male scholars on average despite progress in recent years to close the gender pay gap, figures show.’