independent

Tuesday 13 November 2018

Annual community conference looks at equality in business

Emily Logan, chief commissioner of the Irish Human Rights & Equality Commission.
Emily Logan, chief commissioner of the Irish Human Rights & Equality Commission.
Elizabeth Berry.

Wexford Local Development (WLD) held an event in the Spiegeltent questioning whether or not Ireland has arrived at a point where there is true equality for women.

The matter was raised and discussed at the organisation's annual community conference in the quayfront venue.

The event was also aimed at discussing ideas for community actions and opportunities for equalisation of women in communities all over the county.

At the two-fold event the conference participants were invited to lunch in Wexford Arts Centre in the afternoon.

The day featured some well-known and influential key speakers including: Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights & Equality Commission, Emily Logan; author, lecturer and researcher, Jacinta Kitt, and Senator Lynn Ruane who recently published her first book, 'People Like Me'.

Among the attendees at the seminar were representatives from the cross-party group Women for Election as well as community leaders from all over the county.

Two members of WLD's Community Health team, Polly Connors and Josie Cash, spoke of their experiences as women from a minority ethnic community.

The MC for the event was the recently retired CEO of Wexford Chamber of Commerce, Madeleine Quirke, who also coordinated the initiative.

A welcoming address was given by the Chairperson of WLD, Michael Wall.

He highlighted the importance of equality in modern-day Ireland and of the important role that women have to play in shaping and influencing the direction of the country.

There was also an appearance by the founders of Wexford Town's new Community Choir, Rising Voices, which promotes inclusiveness and support through music.

A spokesperson for WLD said the theme for this year's conference was inspired by stories of strong-willed Wexford women of the early 20th Century who contributed much to the foundation of the state; people like Una Brennan, Maire Moran and the Ryan sisters from Tomcoole.

'Conscious of this rich legacy of activism among Wexford women, we wanted to examine the local context, 100 years after women were given the right to vote,' said the spokesperson.

'While women actively participate in a wide range of organisations at a community level, and within families, research shows that when women and girls prosper entire communities in Ireland succeed,' he added.

He went on to comment that WLD's core purpose is to address inequalities and said that with 76,000 women in the county the organisation wants to encourage the empowerment of women to take leadership roles in their local communities.

A focus of attention was placed on the Social Inclusion & Community Activation Programme (SICAP) which specifies women as a target group.

The organisers were delighted with the turnout and with the positive reaction from those in attendance.

Wexford People

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