A seminar held in Athlone last week heard of the huge changes in the lives and roles of women in the last 100 years, but also identified some areas where further progress is necessary.
The meeting, hosted by local Senator Gabrielle McFadden, was held to mark the 100th anniversary of women winning the right to vote in 1918, and heard from a variety of speakers on the topic of ‘Women Making a Difference’ in Ireland and the world.
The audience of women and men from around the Midlands heard first from Senator McFadden, who outlined how women had achieved parity in some areas, but added that there is still a way to go in terms of women’s participation in the worlds of work and politics. She highlighted in particular the gender pay gap and the need for affordable childcare.
Minister Regina Doherty also spoke of the need for further steps to be taken to allow equality in the workplace, and of the need to address the gap in pension provision for women.
She was followed by Joan Mulvihill, centre director for the Irish Centre for Cloud Computing and Commerce in DCU, who spoke passionately about women making a difference in the ‘big stuff’ as well as on an individual level.
The last speaker, Sarita Johnson, manager of Female Entrepreneurship with Enterprise Ireland, gave a great insight into a hundred years of women in business.
“I was really pleased with the event”, said Senator McFadden. “There was a great crowd, they heard some fantastic speakers, and they made some very valuable contributions from the floor.
“A lot has changed for women since they got the vote 100 years ago and now is the time to mark that progress. Women are making a huge contribution to Irish society and making a difference in so many spheres. And if this meeting is anything to go by, the future is bright.”