THE MINISTER FOR Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe has announced that female candidates will be prioritised in applications for senior civil service jobs.
Outlining a plan to achieve an equal gender split in top civil service roles, Donohoe’s department said female applicants will be given preference for high-level vacancies on boards where women are under-represented.
It said the “merit-based approach of ‘best person for the job’ will continue to apply”, but in cases of equal merit a female candidate would get priority.
Today, two out of 15 secretary-generals in government departments are female - Orlaigh Quinn in the Department for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, and Niamh O’Donoghue in the Department for Social Protection.
However, government-mandated gender quotas have run into a few roadblocks in the past.
Minister for Sport Shane Ross clashed with a junior minister last month over a proposal to cut state funding to sporting bodies that didn’t achieve a 30% gender quota on their boards.
Ross said that he agreed that there needed to be greater female representation on sporting bodies, but did “not favour punitive measures, especially as a weapon to be used against smaller non-governmental bodies”.
With that in mind, we’re asking Fora readers this week: Do you think gender quotas for top civil service jobs are a good idea?