Gender imbalance in interview panel for Dublin’s Rotunda Hospital champion was ‘a spectacular own goal’

Not having a gender-balanced panel to interview the Rotunda’s new master was a “spectacular own goal,” according to a leading obstetrician-gynaecologist.

r Louise Kenny, a former professor of midwifery and consultant midwife at Cork University Maternity Hospital, said there were questions about the “integrity” of the process after it emerged that the outgoing master had helped one of his private business partners become his successor to appoint.

Professor Fergal Malone, the current director, was part of a 13-member panel that appointed Professor Sean Daly as the new director of Ireland’s oldest maternity hospital.

The jury consisted of nine men and four women.

Prof Malone and Prof Daly are both part of a number of consultants at Evie Private Maternity Hospital in Sandyford, Dublin.

“Gender balance, not gender representation, is critical in all nominating bodies,” said Dr. Kenny, who is now Executive Vice-Chancellor at the University of Liverpool.

“But obviously this seems a spectacular own goal in this particular facility, the oldest maternity hospital in Ireland which has never had a female director and which serves a predominantly female population with a now predominantly female staff.”

The Rotunda said all of their appointments follow public service guidelines, which “ensure potential conflicts of interest are appropriately declared, risk-assessed and managed.”

In a memo to staff last week, Prof Malone said he was delighted to announce Prof Daly as master, whom he described as a “strong, visionary and highly qualified candidate”.

Prof. Daly competed against Dr. Maeve Eogan and Dr. Jennifer Donnelly, two high-profile consultant obstetricians at the Rotunda.

Both Dr. Eogan as well as Dr. Donnelly expressed their disappointment at losing the role on social media.

dr Donnelly told her Twitter followers that she was “disappointed not to have been successful,” and signed it with the hashtag “#womeninleadership.”

dr Eogan replied and confirmed that she had also chosen the job. “Really disappointed not to be the 40th Master of this wonderful institution. But dared nothing, won nothing.”

Throughout its 277-year history, all 40 gentlemen of Rotunda Hospital have been men. It is the only one of Dublin’s three maternity hospitals that has never had a female master.

A number of midwives told this privately Irish Independent that they believe their male colleagues are more likely to be mentored by other men in managerial positions and therefore promoted.

A leading male midwife said this was “a perceptive comment” as he felt it was fair to say there was an element of a ‘boys club’ culture at the forefront of midwifery in Ireland.

Suzanne Crowe, President of the Irish Medical Council, said women suffer from a lack of family-friendly career development opportunities and that networking opportunities in medicine tend to be “better suited to men”.

“Women need to support each other once in a managerial position by creating networking opportunities that are suitable for families, e.g. E.g. childcare at meetings or babies-welcome guidelines at meetings,” she said.

“Men have to support all these developments – it is not enough to just stand by and watch. Improvements in justice will benefit everyone.

“A retired male surgeon recently brought to my attention how difficult it was for his 30-year-old daughter to advance her career in medicine.” Gender imbalance in interview panel for Dublin’s Rotunda Hospital champion was ‘a spectacular own goal’

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