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International Womens Day 2023

International Womens Day 2023 - Embracing Gender Equity

International Women's Day (IWD) is a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. IWD is celebrated annually on March 8th, and the theme of this year’s celebration is embracing equity.  

While equality focuses on giving equal opportunities to all genders – such as a woman’s right to vote – equity recognises that different individuals have different circumstances and allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed for that individual to reach an equal outcome. Women often require more than a level playing field. Plus, gender is intersectional, and women as a group are truly diverse. Policies that benefit white women, for example, may not benefit women of colour due to historical or current inequalities. A shift from gender equality to the process of gender equity is required for meaningful progress.  


ICOS and the DFA held a webinar to celebrate IWD on Wednesday, March 8th. The webinar was aimed at celebrating women’s achievements as well as discussing some of the major challenges we are still facing on a local, national, and global scale.  


During the webinar, participants had the opportunity to hear from current and former recipients of the Ireland Fellows Programme who shared their personal experiences, research they did during their studies in Ireland, and professional achievements in the field. They also had an opportunity to join a discussion about the conditions that need to be met and progress that needs to be made for us to achieve gender equity when it comes to participation in education, women’s choices in health, and workplaces where women can thrive.   


The webinar began with welcome words and introduction by Laura Harmon, Director at Irish Council for International Students. We then heard from Jill Clements, Deputy Head of Mission and Head of Cooperation at the Embassy of Ireland, Kenya, who spoke about women's rights in Kenya. Following that, we had a presentation on “Athena Swan Ireland: Achieving Gender Equality by Embracing Equity” by Irene Byrne, National Advisor for Athena Swan Ireland. We then heard from current Ireland Fellows and alumni of the IFP. Their presentations were as follows:  

  • “Adopting Self-empowerment to Influence Institutional Policy Changes” by Isabel Jaime Quetxoaio, MA in Gender, Globalisation and Rights at the University of Galway 
  • “The Price Women Pay to Work” by Pamela Marjorine Mawanda, MA in Gender Studies at University College Dublin 
  • “Gender Equity in the Workplace: Win-Win Solutions For All” by Vu Thu Hang, Operations Officer, Gender and Economic Inclusion at IFC Vietnam 
  •  “Navigating Motherhood and Work” by Runyararo Precious Mutariswa, Program Officer at SAfAIDS 

Following these presentations, the participants split up into breakout rooms to discuss the following topics:  

  1. Women’s Participation in Education; moderated by Nina Sen Singh, MA in Education at Trinity College Dublin 

  1. Empowering Women’s Choices in Health; moderated by Herieth Wilson Ismael, MSc in Global Health at Trinity College Dublin 

  1. Workplaces Where Women Can Thrive; moderated by Elizabeth Titty Jalloh, LLM in International Human Rights and Public Policy at University College Cork 


It was a great webinar with excellent participation and engagement to celebrate International Womens Day. We would like to thank all of our incredible speakers for their contributions to this event.