Jeanette Findlay became a Professor of Economics this year. Credit: University of Glasgow

Professor Jeanette Findlay announces candidacy for UCU Scotland President

By Odhran Gallagher

The Economics Professor told The Glasgow Guardian she would to make sex discrimination, particularly against women of marginalised races, a priority in Higher Education if elected UCU Scotland President.

Professor Jeanette Findlay has announced her candidacy for President of the University and College Union (UCU) Scotland. Findlay became a Professor of Economics at the University of Glasgow in August of this year, and is the current Vice-President of the UCU Scotland.

Findlay announced her candidature via Twitter on 15 November: “I am standing for the role of President of UCU Scotland, the term of which begins on 29 May 2023.  Along with my fellow candidates I will be providing an election address setting out my plans should I be elected and throughout the ballot period I will be making my case here.”

Regarding her process to becoming a Professor this year, Findlay raised an employment tribunal with the University, after she claimed she was the victim of sex-based discrimination when she her initial application for promotion in 2020 failed. Professor John Finch, who was Head of the Adam Smith Business School and also Findlay’s line manager at the time of her application, admitted to the tribunal that he had made a mistake in failing to include details of her leadership experience in his reference statement for her. However, Finch told the tribunal that he had later amended the reference after concerns had been raised by Findlay.

When her application ultimately failed, Findlay stated that Finch suggested she move into learning and teaching. At the tribunal, she asked him: “Was it because that is what women do? Did you think, here she is, she fits more into [learning and teaching]?”. She told Finch, who admitted her treatment had been “unfair”: “I don’t think you know the damage this has done to me but I’m glad you told the truth.”

Findlay told the tribunal that she had requested to have a subject-specific mentor to advise her on three occasions during the application process, but was instead given a lawyer, accountant, and a marketing specialist, while a male colleague also in the running was paired with a “world-class economist” by Finch. 

Speaking to The Glasgow Guardian about her bid to become UCU president, Findlay said: “By the end of my tenure [as UCU Vice-President] in May 2023 I will have led two important pieces of work:  the application of Fair Work to the HE Sector and the future policy implications of the Covid-related switch to online teaching. I think my experience as a VP makes my candidacy a strong one.

I have a life-long interest in the issue of sex discrimination in HE and the consequences for pay gaps and promotion blockages.  I think that the impact on our women members (made worse for women from racialized minorities or with disabilities) is still one of the biggest inequities in higher education and I would like to make that a priority in Scotland.

I would also like to see a greater devolution of powers from UCU nationally to UCU Scotland.  A UK-wide union gives us greater strength but there are some decisions which would be better taken at a Scotland level given that we have a different education system with many distinct and unique features.”

Nominations in the election are open until 1 December 2022 and ballots are scheduled to be distributed to members between 26 January and 1 March 2023.


Share this story

Follow us online

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments