Munster Technological University (MTU) gear up to celebrate International Women's Day

Munster Technological University (MTU) will mark International Women’s Day with a special event, writes EMMA CONNOLLY - who finds out more about the college’s work promoting diversity and equality
Munster Technological University (MTU) gear up to celebrate International Women's Day

Launching MTU's International Women's Day event, were Professor Margaret Linehan, Head of School of Humanities MTU, Norma Welch, Dept Engineering MTU, Andrea Bickerdike, Lecturer in Sport, Exercise and Health MTU, Danielle Wilcox, Space Science Facilitator/Telescope Operator BCO/MTU, Mary Maloney, Lecturer and Researcher MTU, President of MTU, Prof. Maggie Cusack, Sineád Rodgers, Information Technology and Services Professional MTU, Ellen O'Shea, Athena SWAN Administrator MTU, Dr Helen McGuirk, Head of the Hincks Centre for Entrepreneurship Excellence and Trish Brenan, Head of Fine Art & Applied Art MTU/Crawford College of Art and Design. Photo Darragh Kane

AN original line-up is planned by Munster Technological University (MTU) to mark International Women’s Day, centred on the theme ‘Break the Bias’. The student voice, past and present, will be central to the March 8 event, in the same way that it is central to everyday life on campus.

Three graduates have been chosen to address the virtual event and they are Dr Susan Bullman, a leading cancer researcher; Sarah Kelleher, former captain of the Irish hockey team and Timmy Long, who co-presents the Two Norries podcast and who is notably the first man to speak at an IWD event at MTU.

Head of the School of Humanities Professor Margaret Linehan is chair of the committee organising the day and she stressed it is about showcasing and celebrating their graduates’ success and instilling confidence in the next generation.

“It’s also about breaking down gender bias, the unconscious bias that we all unknowingly have, and any stereotyping.

“It’s about promoting equality and diversion in the university and making it an inclusive campus for everyone.

“Basically, it’s about getting rid of discrimination so our students know they can be themselves,” said Margaret.

That’s one of the reasons Margaret said they were keen to have a male speaker this year, as they don’t want men to be seen as the ‘enemy’, but rather as an ally, and part of the celebration.

She has had a 25-year career at MTU – starting when it was the RTC - and says she’s seen incredible positive changes during that time.

“Since September, for example, students who are in the process of transitioning are, for the first time, able to register with us under their preferred name,” she said.

“We were also the first university in Ireland to achieve White Ribbon Status which means we’ve pledged never to commit, condone, or remain silent about gender-based violence on or off the campus.

“We’re not afraid to have those hard conversations here to get rid of discrimination,” she said adding that all MTU committees are also required to have 40% female participation.

A specially composed piece of music will be performed on the day by MTU Cork School of Music students, and a selection of videos in support of the Break the Bias theme will also be shown.

Among them will be messages from Taoiseach Micheál Martin, and representatives from Johnson and Johnson group, Dell Technologies, PM Group, Sexual Violence Centre Cork and We are Riley.

MC on the day will be Orlaith McGowan, a graduate of Regina Mundi College, and a fourth year Mechanical Engineering (typically a male-dominated programme). Orlaith was the co-founder of MTU’s WiSTEM Society, an all-female society that aims to promote women and girls in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths).

The event can be accessed at https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/mtu-empowering-women-event-tickets-272120077477

MORE ON THE SPEAKERS

DR SUSAN BULLMAN

Susan is an assistant Professor, Human Biology Division, at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre in Seattle, and has won many accolades for her work which looks mainly at the link between microbes and cancer.

Originally from Ballinlough, she previously said that it was the patience and knowledge of lectures in Biomedical Sciences at MTU (then CIT) and subsequently her PhD advisors that had the most impact on her as a junior scientist.

“My time there provided me with the skills, tools and self-confidence needed to embark on my own independent scientific journey,” she said.

SARAH KELLEHER

Sarah has a total of 127 caps for Ireland from her eight years playing at international level and was captain of Ireland between 1992 and 1995. Now London-based, she’s a business consultant with her own agency and a leading figure in hockey coaching.

From Ballinlough, the sporting great has previously spoken of ‘inherent biases’, and how, despite her achievements, she has been overlooked for a number of high profile roles that have typically gone to a man.

TIMMY LONG

Timmy is known to a huge audience of people from The Two Norries podcast, which he co-hosts. He has spoken openly about his life of crime, alcohol, drug, and gambling addictions, followed by periods in treatment centres and prison. That’s where he learned to read at the age of 32, and it was while studying construction management at CIT that he discovered he had severe dyslexia.

Timmy currently runs his own property maintenance and construction company and employs people who are in recovery.

ANOTHER EVENT

Meanwhile another separate event will also take place tomorrow to mark 39 years of the Sexual Violence Centre and to commemorate the 245(+) women who have died by men’s violence in Ireland since 1996.

The event called 'Creativity & Change MTU' will be hosted in collaboration with the Cork Sexual Violence Centre and The Reclaim Project.

They will be launching a public participative art project, at the Sexual Violence Centre, Camden Place, Cork on International Women’s Day, March 8, at 6pm.

The event will feature performances and conversations. The public will be invited to join an ongoing art project to commemorate the 245(+) women who have died by men’s violence in Ireland since 1996, a report recorded by Women’s Aid. 

This public art project hopes to serve as a shared space for the people of Cork to pay respects to all women who have lost their lives to men’s violence and invite reflection on how we change the cultures of violence and harassment, many of whom are from marginalised communities and are rarely commemorated in our society.

A spokeswoman said: "We want to invite members of the public to contribute to the creation of a mural in Cork City Centre that gives the 245 women a space to be remembered. Each participant will be given a stencil with one of the women’s names to paint on the wall and, as they do so, invited to reflect on how to do their part to change the culture of gender-based violence, which can be anything from small personal actions to speaking out. We will invite people to speak these actions as they paint, and add them to a collective remembrance book.

"We are asking those interested in participating in the painting of the mural to sign up at the link below and we will be in touch with details of the location and dates of the mural painting."

For more see https://cutt.ly/we_remember

For more on the IWD event see  https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/international-womens-day-we-remember-tickets-290905485137?ref=eios

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