Griffith College looks at ‘Breaking the Bias’ for International Women’s Day

Partner Content | Tue 8 Mar | Author – Business & Finance
Pictured: Aine McManus, Head of the Graduate Business School Faculty, Griffith College

Aine McManus, Head of the Graduate Business School Faculty, Griffith College

What does International Women’s Day and its theme this year #BreakTheBias, mean to you?

I feel privileged to be in the education sector and I see myself as a facilitator to help others #BreaktheBias. To me, the theme Breaking the Bias means giving people the confidence to be different and come to me if they are struggling and need support. A welcome trend we are seeing in the GBS Faculty is more and more international female students travelling to study a postgraduate degree in Ireland.

Have you seen any progress on gender equality in Higher Education?

Yes 100%! In recent years I’ve seen the education sector embracing gender equality more and more. At Griffith, many females are Heads of Faculty and that’s not down to balancing, it’s because their capability, education and experience are recognised.

What barriers have you faced in your career and how have you overcome them?

I completed a Master’s in Data Mining and loved it. However, when I started working, I felt like I had made a mistake and it wasn’t the profession for me. I decided to change my career and went back to college to study a Master’s in Third Level Education. I loved Computer Science and I was good at socialising and communicating, so I started teaching instead. I used education to jump over that barrier and see a different side to my own skillset.

What advice would you give to women about their careers?

Ever since I heard it in school, Robert Frost’s poem ‘The Road Not Taken’ has stuck with me. No matter how long you go along a road, there is always another path you can take. It is never too late to change direction and explore a new career. Education can lead you to any path you want, it’s the willpower, the time and the support that will get you through it. Not many may choose to take the other path, but it’s worth taking a chance, there’s always an option to turn back.

Karen Sutton, Head of the Law Faculty and Professional Law School, Griffith College

Pictured: Karen Sutton, Head of the Law Faculty and Professional Law School, Griffith College

 

What does International Women’s Day and its theme this year #BreakTheBias, mean to you?

 International Women’s Day is an opportunity to acknowledge, celebrate and reflect on the role of women in society. It aims to increase the focus on creating a more inclusive and equal society so that hopefully, we can all work together to #BreakTheBias.

Have you seen any progress on gender equality in Higher Education?

Within legal education, there has, over the past number of decades, been an evident increase in the number of women studying and practising law, which was traditionally a male centric profession. It is wonderful to see so many women currently studying law, practising as solicitors or barristers and appointed to the judiciary and other high profile roles. Indeed in 2014, women held a number of key positions within the legal system in Ireland, namely, as Attorney General, Director of Public Prosecutions, Chief State Solicitor, acting Garda Commissioner, Minister for Justice and Chief Justice.

Can you tell us about a role model who has inspired you over your career?

Ruth Bader Ginsberg. RBG demonstrated the strength of a woman while facing many challenges in her family and academic life. Then in a professional capacity, her decision-making and fight for equality of both genders during her legal career were inspiring.

What advice would you give to women about their careers?

Often, women are conditioned into minimising their contributions. I would encourage women to take pride in their achievements, experiences, and skills. Promote yourself wholeheartedly and don’t limit your dreams. It is important for women to celebrate not only their own successes but also other women’s successes and provide encouragement and support so that hopefully we can all succeed in our careers. 

Jacqui Tracey, Programme Director for the Business Faculty, Griffith College

Pictured: Jacqui Tracey, Programme Director for the Business Faculty, Griffith College

 

What does International Women’s Day and its theme this year #BreakingTheBias, mean to you?

To me, IWD and breaking the bias, is an opportunity for men and women to acknowledge the work of women throughout society, not only in the world of business. This is not for just one day but every day. We can all do better to support women.

Can you tell us about a role model who has inspired you over your career?

One of the most important role models, for me, is former president Mary Robinson. She has shown that she is both a great leader and a compassionate human, who has done so much in her life. From breaking ground as the first female President of Ireland to becoming the Leader of the Elders, and in between fighting for the disadvantaged as the UN High Commissioner of human rights. Furthermore, throughout all these roles she has been a strong promoter of gender equality. 

What advice would you give to women about their careers?

Reach out to both female and male colleagues for feedback, in terms of how you can improve in your role. Rather than seeing yourself as a female employee, try to see yourself as a person who can bring value to the team because of your perspective, be ready to take advice on board. If you look in the right place you can find supportive male and female colleagues.

What more can companies/organisations do to make progress in this area?

Companies can create a network of senior female and male mentors who jointly encourage the development of female employees throughout the company. As the adage goes “if you don’t see it, you can’t be it “, having this as part of an organisation’s ambition will encourage a better gender balance in terms of decision-makers.