Impact, equality and empowerment - DIT celebrates International Women’s DayPosted: 8 March, 2018
Research impact, gender equality and women’s empowerment were some of the themes highlighted at a celebration of achievement held in DIT on the eve of International Women’s Day.
Professor Brian Norton, President of DIT, welcomed more than 100 guests to the event and commented that the day should be seen as a serious opportunity to highlight the importance of gender equality rather than a ‘greeting card’ event. “It is important for society as a whole to recognize and overcome conscious and unconscious bias in all aspects of life. DIT has wholeheartedly committed to promoting gender equality and we will use the opportunity afforded by the Athena SWAN framework to develop our action plan and to implement it.”
Dr Ashley O’Donoghue, Head of Staff Development, explained more about the Athena SWAN Charter and its accreditation programme for addressing gender equality in Higher Education in Ireland and the UK, and outlined how DIT is pressing for progress by taking action to make meaningful organisational and cultural change across the Institute. A survey on gender equality attracted a high response rate from over 550 colleagues in DIT. Dr Mary Kinahan, Lecturer in the College of Business specialising in gender in the workplace, explored the preliminary findings and highlighted some of the comments coming through which will help to inform the initiatives in the action plan.
Dr Jennifer McKenna, Researcher in Residence for Intel Ireland, spoke about the powerful impact of the Connecting Women in Technology initiative, a collaboration between 18 of the leading technology companies in Ireland with the shared vision of “connecting and supporting the development of women in the technology industry, now and in the future.”
Launching the latest edition of the DIT Research News magazine celebrating ‘Women in STEM’, Professor Norton said it was an opportunity to highlight some of the dynamic research initiatives led by women scientists, engineers, and technologists in the Institute. He went on to say that the research featured in the magazine, spanning areas such as health, the environment, software innovation and STEM education, is linked by a commitment to develop new applications that address real-world challenges and harness science and technology to solve pressing problems in the world today. Many of the featured researchers were present, adding a special air of celebration to the event.
Two five-minute ‘lightning talks’ on research projects featured in the magazine, gave guests a taste of the real impact of DIT research. First, PhD student Ayda Esfandyari described her work designing a solar charging station for electric buggies, which are used daily on the Grangegorman campus and are helping to achieve EU targets for reducing emissions. This was followed by Professor Fiona Lyng, a prolific researcher and Manager of the DIT Radiation and Environmental Science Centre, who described her current groundbreaking research developing a new test for diagnosing cervical pre-cancer, which could provide an earlier and more accurate diagnosis, saving women’s lives.
Following the talks, the room was alive with the buzz of networking and celebration.