Ireland: ‘Positive discrimination’ fears surround women-only academic posts

Article here. Excerpt:

'Concerns were raised that 45 new academic women-only posts could be seen as “positive discrimination” in correspondence between government departments.

The Department of Education had been seeking advice about the legality of creating professorship posts that would be open just to women.

In emails, a senior official in the department explained that to bridge the gender gap, they wanted to create posts that would “be filled exclusively by females”.

“This model draws on international experience,” wrote William Beausang, “in particular from the Netherlands – where the approach has been notably successful.”

However, officials in the Department of Public Expenditure raised concerns last April, warning that such moves could run into legal trouble.

In response, the head of the Civil Service human resources policy unit, Louise McGirr, wrote: “You have described it as positive action but I am not sure if it is more along the lines of positive discrimination. Positive action being lawful and positive discrimination is not.”'

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