Professor Pat O'Connor is Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Limerick and Visiting Professor, Geary Institute, University College Dublin. Education: Ph.D University of London; M.Soc Sc (1st) UCD; B.Soc Sc (1st) UCD. Pat O'Connor's research interests currently revolve around gender equality in higher education: with a particular focus on leadership and management,organisational culture, constructions of excellence, early careers, micropolitics and STEM. Her roughly 120 publications include nine books and over 80 peer reviewed refereed journal articles (see Researchgate). A sociologist and feminist, she was the first woman to be appointed at (full) professorial level in the University of Limerick in 1997; and the first woman Faculty Dean there in 2000 and the first female professor of sociology in Ireland. She has been active in promoting gender equality at an organisational and national level and was a member of the National Review on Gender Equality in Irish Higher Education Institutions (HEA, 2016). A member of WHEM (Women in Higher Education Management Network) she has been involved in a number of international research consortia: including FESTA, an EU funded project (2012-17). She has held visiting professorships at the Universities of London; Aveiro; Linkoping; Deakin and Melbourne. A research evaluator for the European Science Foundation; for Nordic Spaces; for the Austrian Science Foundation etc, she was Chair of the International Research Panel for Linnaeus funding. She has been on the Advisory Boards of a number of international research projects including TARGET, CHANGE and RESET. She has edited/co-edited a number of Special Issues incl on Gender and Leadership (2018) and Creating Change: Gender, Leadership and Higher Education (2020). In the early part of her career, Pat O'Connor's research interests focused on women's worlds: their attitudes to familial roles and their close ties (friendships; mother/daughter; sister/sister and marital pleasure). Her publications from this period include Friendships Between Women (2002/1992: Harvester Wheatsheaf (UK) Guilford (US)): nominated by Choice in the US as an Outstanding academic book. Her research interests later returned to these areas: focusing on the gendering of children and young people's lives. Irish Children and Teenagers in a Changing World (2008) reflects this focus. In the 1990s, she became concerned with organisational and institutional gendered power: in semi-state structures, in higher education, in the family and in the wider society. Emerging Voices: Women in Contemporary Irish Society (1998/1999) reflects the beginning of these interests. They are also reflected in her more recent focus on higher education, in Management and Gender in Higher Education (2014); Gendered Success in Higher Education: Global Perspectives (2017); Gender, Power and Higher Education in a Globalised World (2021) and Creating a Totally Inclusive University (2023) as well as in an extensive range of refereed journal articles and chapters (see Reseachgate: Pat O'Connor, University of Limerick). Her latest book is a memoir: A 'proper' woman?: One woman's story of success and failure in Academia, published by Peter Lang.

Research Interests

Gender equality: with a current focus on power and gender equality in higher educational institutions; particularly leadership and management, organisational culture and structures, early academic careers and gender equality related interventions and support.

Professional Activities


  • 2010 Chair of Linnaeus International Expert Research Panel for Research Funding ,
  • 2008 Member of Linnaeus Internation Expert Panel for Evaluating Research,
  • Member of Council of ESRI,
  • European Science Foundation peer reviewer,
  • Advisory Board, National Longitudinal Study of 9 year olds,
  • External Examiner Women's Studies, UCD, 2007-2010,
  • Advisory Board, TASC,
  • Chair of the Royal Irish Academy National Undergraduate Awards Sociology Committee,
  • Invited Member of NORFACE Think Tank for transnational research,
  • COST expert: Individual, Society and Culture,


  • 2000 University of LImerick - Dean, Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Scien
  • 1997 University of Limerick - Professor
  • 1991 UL - Course Director
  • 1982 WIT. - Course Director
  • 1979 NISW, London - Project Director
  • 1973 University of London - Research Officer
  • 1970 ESRI, Dublin - Research Assistant


  • 1987 University of London - Ph.D.
  • 1979 University College Dublin -
  • 1970 UCD - B.Soc.Sc.


  • Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, Stockholm, Sweden - Evaluator of the Research Programme Nordic Spaces: 2013

Peer Reviewed Journals


Emerging Voices

O'Connor, P (1999) Emerging Voices. Canadian Journal Of Irish Studies :147-163



Bridging Two Worlds

Sinclair, I. Crosbie, D. O'Connor, P; Vicery, A. (1989) Bridging Two Worlds. United Kingdom : Avebury

Book Chapters


Excellence? pp150-165

O'Connor, P. and Montes-Lopez, E. (2022) Excellence? pp150-165. UK : Routledge Inequalities and the Paradigm of Excellence in Academia :150-165


Gender in higher education: A critical review

O'Connor P.;Carvalho T.;Vabø A.;Cardoso S. (2016) Gender in higher education: A critical review. London : Palgrave The Palgrave International Handbook of Higher Education Policy and Governance :569-584


Feminism and politics of gender

O'Connor P. (2003) Feminism and politics of gender. Public Administration and Public Policy in Ireland: Theory and Methods :50-63

Edited Books

Other Journals

This author has not written any publications of this type yet.

Conference Publications


North Eastern Network

O'Connor, P,Alhamoruni, A.,Lee, A. C.,Wright, K. L.,Larvin, M.,O'Sullivan, S. E. (2010) North Eastern Network. School of Graduate Entry Medicine and Health, Royal Derby Hospital, University of Nottingham, Nottin J Pharmacol Exp Ther :*-*


Conference on Rural Development: Striking the Proper Balance

O' Connor, P.,Ammori, B. J.,Barclay, G. R.,Larvin, M.,McMahon, M. J. (2003) Conference on Rural Development: Striking the Proper Balance. Division of Surgery, The University of Leeds, and Center for Digestive Diseases, The General Infirma Pancreas :*-*


Merriman Summer School

O' Connor, P,Ammori, B. J.,Becker, K. L.,Kite, P.,Snider, R. H.,Nylen, E. S.,White, J. C.,Larvin, M.,McMahon, M. J. (2003) Merriman Summer School. British Journal of Surgery :*-*



O' Connor, P (1999) WERRC. :*-*



O'Connor, P (1997) Preface. :1-2



O'Connor, P (1996) Preface. :1-3


Sociological Association of Ireland

O'Connor, P,Larvin, M.,Lansdown, M. R.,McMahon, M. J.,Chalmer, A. G.,Turney, J. H.,Brownjohn, A. M. (1988) Sociological Association of Ireland. BMJ :*-*

Conference Contributions

This author has not written any publications of this type yet.

Published Reports


FESTA Perceptions of Excellence in the Hiring Processes

Wolffram, A., Aye, M., Apostolov, G., Andonova, S., O'Hagan, C. O'Connor, P. Chizzola, V. Caglayan, H., Saglamer, G, Tan, MG (2014) FESTA Perceptions of Excellence in the Hiring Processes . : FESTA


O genero faz diferenca

O'Connor, P (1999) O genero faz diferenca. Lisboa : Institutio Superior De Ciencias Do Trabalho :19-29


Book Reviews

Other Publications


Theorising Gender

O'Connor, P (2003) Theorising Gender. Dublin : Dubklin City University Sociology 4 :132-148


Facing reality;

O'Connor, P (1999) Facing reality;. IRISH JOURNAL OF FEMINIST STUDIES :103-106


The P word

O'Connor, P (1997) The P word. From the Shadows Vol 3 :5-18