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Women and Ambition

Project Remit:
To analyse the barriers and facilitators to the career ambitions of women employed in the management grades of the Irish Civil Service.

An extensive summary and review of the relevant international and national literature pertaining to women's career ambition with particular attention to the theoretical discourse on women's ambition. Analysis of recent policy initiatives aimed at facilitating the advancement of women's careers was undertaken. Furthermore, a review of the relevant statistics describing the current employment situation of women in Ireland as compared to other EU countries.

Evaluation, via an online survey, of the opinions and assessments of both men and women employed in the management grades (Higher Executive Officer/Administrative Officer and above) across 15 Civil Service Departments. A total of 2,237 responses were obtained yielding a valid response rate of 40%.

In-depth interviews with a sub-sample of 26 male and female employees from two selected Departments. The aim of this qualitative strand was to obtain a deeper more nuanced understanding of the complexity women's ambition. In order to benefit from a comparative element in the analysis of the qualitative data, interviews were conducted among 10 employees from similar management levels working within the private sector.

Funded by:
Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform

Research Team:
Dr. Maryann Valiulis, Deirdre O'Donnell and Jennifer Redmond.