SIPTU divisional organiser, Adrian Kane, has given a cautious welcome to the recommendations contained in the Gender Action Plan 2018-2020. Under the plan, up to 30 women-only professorships will be created in third level institutions over the next three years, among other proposals. According to Kane, there have only been marginal improvements in female representation at senior level in Academia since the adoption of the Review of Gender Inequality in Higher Education Institutions published in 2016. He said that the Action Plan prepared by a government appointed taskforce contains a number of other recommendations which will benefit staff across the third level sector.“While the recommendation for additional gender-specific posts is welcome, some of the other proposed measures could have a greater impact in addressing gender inequality across the third level sector,” said Kane, SIPTU’s Public Administration and Community Division Organiser.“In particular, the recommendation contained in the report to expand the criteria for ATHENA SWAN certification to encompass all staff and all disciplines is a positive development. We also welcome the proposal to link the Higher Education Authority’s block grant to an institution’s performance in addressing gender inequality and the gender-proofing of recruitment and promotion procedures and practices across the sector.”SIPTU represents thousands of staff in third level colleges, including cleaners, ground staff, lecturers and professors.“The use of gender quotas has proven to be an effective structural tool in other sectors of society in addressing the very real and structural issues that lead to gender inequality. The union will continue to support women, whatever their role, in their struggle for equality across the third level sector. Women also suffer disproportionately from less secure employment and precarious employment is endemic across the sector. Unfortunately, this report will have little impact on this phenomenon, ” he said.