The Government has set up a taskforce to promote gender equality in Higher Education.

The group will carry out a review of recruitment and promotion policies in the sector, as well as other practices. It will also prepare a three-year action plan.

The establishment of the taskforce follows the publication last year of a national third level gender review carried out by the Higher Education Authority.

That review found that numerous factors meant that women in the sector faced barriers to progression that were not experienced to the same degree by men.

It found that what it called "radical action" was necessary to combat the problem of gender inequality in Irish Higher Education Institutions. 

Minister of State Mary Mitchell O'Connor, who has responsibility for Higher Education, said the taskforce would build on the work of the national review.

It will be chaired by Marie O'Connor, former financial services partner at Pricewaterhouse Cooper.

Other members include current ICTU president Sheila Nunan and president of Carlow Institute of Technology Dr Patricia Mulcahy.