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Gender equality experts based in Iceland, the US and the UK will join a host of Irish speakers on the line-up for this year’s WorkEqual campaign, sharing their insights and ideas on how to progress workplace gender equality.

The WorkEqual campaign, which is NGO-led and runs every November, aims to raise awareness of workplace gender inequalities and related issues – and develop solutions to address these.

Launching the 2020 programme for WorkEqual campaign founder Sonya Lennon said: “We are delighted to have international activists, politicians, business leaders and NGO representatives on the line-up for WorkEqual 2020. Last year, we held the inaugural WorkEqual conference, which involved a number of international speakers. This year, as a physical conference is not feasible, we’re running a series of online panel discussions and using the opportunity presented by moving online to broaden the global reach of the campaign.

“Gender inequality is not a challenge for Ireland alone. It’s an issue that countries worldwide are grappling with. We have lots to learn from countries that have shown leadership and innovation in promoting gender equality in the workplace. And, in turn, other countries can learn from some of the positive initiatives underway here in Ireland. International collaboration – and learning from what has and hasn’t worked in other jurisdictions – will be a big focus of this year’s campaign.”

The Solutions Series

The panel discussions taking place in November are being billed as ‘The Solutions Series: a whole-of-society approach to progressing gender equality’. All discussions will be open to anyone interested in gender equality to attend online, free of charge. Five discussions will take place in total:

  1. Thursday, 5th November: ‘How Can We Banish Gender Stereotypes from Society?’
  2. Monday, 9th November (the date designated by the WorkEqual Campaign as Equal Pay Day, the date on which women in Ireland effectively stop earning, relative to men, because of the gender pay gap): ‘Why Understanding the Pay Gap is Key to Gender Equality at Work’
  3. Thursday, 12th November: ‘What Role has Flexible Working in Achieving Gender Equality?’
  4. Thursday, 19th November: ‘How the Value Placed on Caring Contributes to Gender Equality at Work’.
  5. Thursday, 26th November: ‘How Can We Address Women’s Under-Representation in Positions of Leadership – at Work and in Wider Society?’

All events will run from 1pm to 2pm, and advance registration is required through the WorkEqual website. Speakers confirmed for ‘The Solutions Series’ to date include:

  • Professor Linda Scott, founder of, and now Senior Advisor to, the Global Business Coalition for Women’s Economic Empowerment; founder of DoubleXEconomy LLC, a consulting firm specialising in women’s economic empowerment; and author of ‘The Double X Economy’.
  • Laura Jones, Research Associate at the Global Institute for Women's Leadership.
  • Eamonn Crowley, CEO of Permanent TSB.
  • Andrew Brownlee, CEO of SOLAS.
  • Karen Boyle, Professor of Feminist Media Studies at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland.
  • Orlaigh Quinn, Secretary General of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.
  • Anne Looney, Professor and Executive Dean of the Institute of Education at Dublin City University.
  • Helen Russell, Research Professor at the ESRI.
  • Cormac Harris and Alan O’Sullivan, winners of the 2020 BT Young Scientist for their ground-breaking research on gender bias in young schoolchildren.
  • Sean Cooke, CEO of the Men’s Development Network.
  • Senator Ivana Bacik.
  • Deirdre Mortell, CEO of Rethink Ireland.

In addition to ‘The Solutions Series’, an Irish / Icelandic WorkEqual partnership will be launched during November – in collaboration with the Icelandic Women’s Rights Association.

Headline Sponsors: Permanent TSB and SOLAS

At today’s launch, Permanent TSB and SOLAS were announced as headline sponsors of the campaign, with both organisations having committed to a three-year partnership with WorkEqual.

Commenting at the launch, Eamonn Crowley, CEO of Permanent TSB, said: “Permanent TSB is committed to creating a workplace that embeds gender equality at every level and we are delighted to demonstrate this commitment by supporting the WorkEqual campaign to promote gender equality in workplaces across Ireland.

“With the increased challenges from Covid-19, there has never been a more important time for businesses across Ireland to focus on addressing the barriers to women’s and men’s full and equal participation in the workplace, taking direct and proactive steps to make this a reality across society. This is the responsibility of every employer and we’re proud to contribute to this national effort, in partnership with the WorkEqual campaign”

Andrew Brownlee, CEO of SOLAS, said: “We know the Further Education and Training sector plays an important role in supporting women who want to reskill or upskill to further their careers or, indeed, women seeking to return to the workforce. Over 60% of learners in the sector are female. But, even after successfully joining or re-joining the workforce, many women face challenges when it comes to career progression and juggling the demands of work and home life.

“The FET sector is committed to developing the skills for a future workforce that is more gender-balanced. By partnering with the WorkEqual campaign, SOLAS is demonstrating our commitment to tackling gender inequalities over the coming years – in our own workplace, in the FET sector and in wider society.”

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