The Government has proposed the creation of high-ranking women's positions in universities and technology institutes in Ireland, with the aim of addressing the shortage of women in high academic positions.
The proposal is included in a report that will be published tomorrow.
The Government's gender action plan indicates that "gender-specific" positions should be considered where they would be "a proven and efficient means of achieving a fast and sustainable change."
Only 24% of professors in Irish higher education are women, although women account for half of the global labor force in the sector.
The Minister of State in charge of higher education, Mary Mitchell, Connor, says she wants to see women who occupy 40% of the chairs before 2024, but the report of the Gender Action Plan that will be published tomorrow indicates that the Progress in other European countries where strong gender equality policies have been implemented has been slow.
The report estimates that under the current progress rates here, it could take 20 years to reach the 40% target.
He cites examples in Australia, Germany and the Netherlands, where publications have been published or created exclusively for women. The University of Melbourne has published exclusively female positions in a professor, professor and associate professor at his Mathematics and Statistics school to counteract the lack of female representation in the field.
Last year, the prestigious Max Planck Institute in Berlin launched an exclusively feminine program for higher academic roles.
In the Netherlands, the University of Delft began offering scholarships for women only at the level of assistant, associate and professor.
The report states that the Dutch program has been so successful that the university has increased the number of available positions under the ten-to-13 regime.
The proposal is likely to be controversial in Ireland and, if it is implemented, it is expected that they will face a legal challenge.
Ireland's laws prohibit discrimination on several grounds, including gender, and the creation of charges that would be closed to male candidates may seem contrary.
The Higher Education Authority and the Department of Education say that, however, the legal advice says that the proposal would be admissible according to Irish law.
In the Netherlands a man took a case in the Human Rights Institute of that country, claiming that the creation of messages only women violated their right to equality, but the institute said that it was an acceptable positive action measure.
In a statement, Mrs. Mitchell Connor said that the last four years have only seen "a marginal improvement" in the university sector of 1-2% per year on average, from the initial position of 18% of professors in 2013 to only 24% in 2017.
The minister said that the government has undertaken to eradicate gender inequality in higher education institutions in the country.
She said that the "far-reaching measure" of the most important academic positions of the gender was directly to the significant under-representation of women at the profes- sional level and had a central role to play to demonstrate the depth and breadth of female excellence in the higher education sector.