To celebrate International Women’s Day 2019, WIT invited inspirational women and men to speak on the topic of 'Balance for Better' at a morning coffee event
To celebrate International Women’s Day 2019, WIT invited inspirational women and men to speak on the topic of 'Balance for Better'. The speakers who gave their time so generously and individually made momentous statements to motivate and ensure that we build a gender balanced world.
Dr Valerie Brett, Athena Swan Coordinator opened the evnt and the speaker line up consisted of Tammy Darcy, Shona Project founder; Dr Aoife Lane WGPA co-founder; Prof John Wells, WIT, MARC (Men Advocating Real Change) Leadership training; Maria Ronan, whose research is on the impact of State Apologies for Institutional Abuse; Rebecca Beegan whose MA in research focused on the experiences of former prostituted women in Ireland; Prof Denis Harrington, Athena Swan SAT team.
The event was supported by the Employee Wellbeing Committee Roisin Shanahan, Lizzy Kent, Tony Whelan, Elma Clancy and Catherine Higgins. Dr Kate Cagney co-ordinated with involvement from Maria Ronan and Rebecca Beegan. Dr Una Kealy, Dr Kate McCarthy and Susan Green coordinated the profiling of women who have shown leadership and made a significant contribution to the development of society and the way we understand and engage with the world.
The food, tea & coffee was served and prepared by the 2nd year students of the Higher Certificate in Culinary Arts under the guidance and support of their culinary lecturer Mathias Mcgivney and restaurant lecturer Dr Joanne Malone. 2nd year BA (Hons) Health Promotion Students under the guidance and support of their lecturer Mairead Barry had inspirational quotes on display and fundraised for Oasis House, Waterford.
Dr Valerie Brett
Dr Valerie Brett, Athena Swan Coordinator opened the event.
Tammy Darcy (who is presently on a career break from WIT) founded the Shona project in October 2016 to educate, empower and inspire today’s Irish girls to become tomorrow’s strong, capable and confident young women. Since then she has delivered to over 6,000 students in schools all around Ireland and almost 200,000 through their online community. The Shona Project has received awards from Social Entrepreneurs Ireland, Social Innovation Fund, The Waterford Business Awards, and Tammy was a finalist at the Image magazine Women of The Year awards. Just last month, she was awarded CEO of the year at the Irish Women’s Awards. Tammy will be speaking about the importance of investing in the young women of Ireland, who are living through a time of immense cultural change, so that they can achieve their potential and life fulfilled and happy lives.
Dr Aoife Lane
Dr Aoife Lane, a native of Galway lectured in the Department of Health Sport & Exercise Science at WIT for 13 years becoming Head of Department during this period. In 2017 she took up the position of Head of Department in Sport and Health Science at Athlone IT. Aoife comes from a family steeped in GAA tradition where she herself has represented Galway camogie with distinction at underage level. Her interest and involvement in player welfare have been to the forefront of her involvement in Gaelic Games in recent years. She has been involved in the GAA Healthy Clubs Project and has chaired the Camogie Associations National Player Welfare Committee. However, arguably her biggest achievement lies in becoming one of the founding members of the Women’s Gaelic Players Association and being its first chairperson. Some of the successes during this period include Government funding of programmes, leadership training and most tellingly a greater respect for the sacrifice and effort made by inter-county players at all levels. There is no doubt that her work with the Women’s Gaelic Players Association has changed the landscape of Women’s Gaelic Games in this country. It has and will continue to inspire so many young female athletes in our country by giving them a voice and a platform as they travel through their sporting careers.
Prof John Wells, WIT, MARC (Men Advocating Real Change) Leadership training
Professor John Wells and Dr Richard Hayes, representing WIT, attended a MARC (Men Advocating Real Change) workshop at the University of Limerick on the 27th and 28th September 2017. The two day workshop was organised by the HEA for senior academics and educational leaders across Ireland to explore Gender inequality in the higher education sector through open discussion and self-reflection.
Maria Ronan is a research postgraduate student at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT). A graduate of WIT’s Applied Social Studies in Social Care degree programme, she currently lectures in the School of Humanities and supervises undergraduate students on work placements as well as working with adults with intellectual disabilities.
Maria has over many years undertaken voluntary work as the values instilled in her by her family and the example she was set led to a natural progression into such endeavours. When it came to returning to education as a mature student, social care was a natural choice and this experience of learning opened up a whole new world of knowledge for which she feels so privileged.
The subject of Maria’s PhD research is the impact of State Apologies for Institutional Abuse, primarily focusing on the Irish State’s apology to Magdalene women and how this apology was received by all stakeholders, including the Irish public on whose behalf this apology was offered. Maria will speak today on the personal relationship which developed between the Magdalene women and then-Taoiseach Enda Kenny prior to his State apology and the women’s reactions on that momentous evening.
Rebecca Beegan completed a BA Honours in Applied Social Studies in Social Care & then completed a MA in Research in Waterford Institute of Technology in 2015. Her research focused on the experiences of former prostituted women in Ireland. During this time, she worked with various organisations and survivors of the sex trade and actively campaigned to change the Sexual Offences Act 1993 which criminalised those, predominantly women, involved in the sex trade. This new Act, which came into Irish law on the 14th of February 2017, criminalised the buyers of sex, while making provision for those involved in prostitution to be no longer criminalised but protected by the law. Rebecca will speak about her time during this campaign and the importance of this law as a positive step for women's freedom and equality.
Professor Denis Harrington
Professor Denis Harrington, Head of Department of Graduate Business, Athena Swan SAT team closed the event.