15 February 2016

Over 300 women and men will gather to celebrate International Women’s Day on Tuesday, March 8, in The Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin, with a major event being organised by Network Ireland, the organisation focussed on the personal and professional development of women. The theme of the event “A New Age of Equality” will feature a range of national and international business people, policy makers and influencers, discussing equality and diversity in decision making positions in business, politics and media.


President of Network Ireland Deirdre Waldron stated: “It’s never been a better time to be a woman ambitious for her career or her business. We are starting to be recognised for the valuable contributions we can make in business, in our communities and at all levels of government. At this event we will be discussing how other countries are faring on equality and through this we will have a clearer understanding, learn from best international practices and reflect on how we are doing in Ireland in embracing and influencing policy to support equality and diversity.”


“Our panelists will share with us their experiences of equality and diversity in a wide variety of countries including the USA, Canada, Iceland, Romania and the UK. In addition to this we have influencers and senior professionals from Irish private and public organisations.”


The event, which is open to both men and women to attend will commence with a networking drinks reception, lunch in The Shelbourne’s iconic ‘Great Room’, followed by discussion panels on diversity and equality in politics and business.


Keynote speaker is American photojournalist Gabrielle Motola, who has worked across many countries and is now based in Iceland working on a project, engaging with the country's top influencers and policy makers who have made Iceland the global leader for equality.


MC for the event will be journalist and broadcaster Elaine Crowley.  


Participants in the political panel discussion include Joan Weinman, Co-Chair of Equal Voice, a Canadian multi partisan organisation dedicated to electing more women to all levels of political office in Canada.  The organisation last October celebrated Canada's first gender balanced Federal Cabinet being sworn in. "Equal Voice is extremely encouraged by Prime Minister Trudeau's commitment to gender parity at the federal cabinet table, thereby leveraging the talents and diverse voices women bring to political office. While women constitute just 26 percent of Canada's lower House, the senior leadership roles these capable and experienced women will no doubt inspire other talented women to enter the political fray.  A gender balanced cabinet and three very strong female Premiers is changing Canada's political landscape for the better," said Ms Weinman ahead of International Women’s Day. The other political panel participants are Her Excellency, Manuela Breazu, the Ambassador of Romania to Ireland and Aine Collins TD.


On the business panel are three very interesting and accomplished women including Leslie Kavanagh, one of California’s top realtors.  A native Californian, Leslie began her real estate career in 1979 in a very male dominated industry and joined Sotheby’s International Realty in 1998.  Leslie has thrived in this male dominated arena and has received the California 100 and the Circle of Distinction awards, President’s Elite Circle and National President’s Circle in recognition of her sales record and extensive experience. Currently, Leslie is recognised as being a part of the top 1.8% of NRT’s 54,000 sales associates.


She will be joined by Jessica Hayden, the Innovation Academy’s Head of Programme Development; Carolanne Henry, Commercial Operations Director Vodafone Ireland; Sarita Johnston, Manager, Female Entrepreneurship, Enterprise Ireland and Orlagh Hunt, Head of HR, AIB. Giving a short insight into how AIB approach diversity in the workplace Ms Hunt said: “At AIB, we have established a Diversity and Inclusion Board which helps us focus on the personal and professional development of women in business. We have encouraged a much broader view of talent; building and encouraging more diverse networks amongst colleagues and with our customers. We have raised awareness of our unconscious bias and have translated them into inclusive leadership and we have developed smarter and more agile ways of working – supporting a better blend in people’s lives”.  


The charity partner for the event is White Ribbon Ireland, the national movement of the world's largest male-led campaign to end men's violence against women, with a presence in over 60 countries.


Tickets for the event are currently on sale and are priced at €50 for members of Network Ireland or €500 for corporate table of 10 for members, €70 for non-members and €700 for corporate table of 10 for non-members.


For further information and to book tickets visit www.networkireland.ie.