Minister Mitchell O’Connor briefed by Irish gender equality researchers on International Women’s Day

Posted: 8 March, 2019

Seven distinguished Irish researchers addressing gender equality met with Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD today at the President’s Room, RDS, to mark International Women’s Day.

The researchers were recently awarded €1.7 million in funding as part of the GENDER-NET Plus programme, a European Union initiative to promote gender equality through research. GENDER-NET Plus invited applications that address the urgent societal challenges outlined in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, specifically exploring the interdependencies between gender equality and health,  innovation, and climate action.  The successful transnational projects range from examining the effect of gender on social exclusion, to discovering sex-related differences in immune responses to cancer treatment, to considering the role of gender in entrepreneurship.

The Irish researchers are based at Dublin City University (2), University College Cork (2) and National University of Ireland, Galway (3) – are supported by an international group of research funding agencies, including the Irish Research Council and the Health Research Board.

Commenting today, Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD said: “It is fantastic to have the opportunity to meet with these researchers on International Women’s Day and to gain a real insight from them into the important work they are doing in relation to gender equality. In November 2018, I launched my Gender Action Taskforce report which forensically examined the gender imbalance within our higher education institutes.  To accelerate the promotion of women into the higher echelons of our institutions, I established female only professorships.  In the coming weeks, I will be opening the call for these positions and I look forward to undoing the inequality that has existed within our hallowed halls of learning. Today I commend the gender equality researchers who passionately want to challenge this societal unfairness. I see by supporting your research in this area, we as policy makers will gain invaluable insights into how to continue to make changes and progress for a fairer society.”         

Adding to this, Assistant Director of the Irish Research Council, Dr Eavan O’Brien said: “It is vital that we continue to fund research in the gender equality space in order to understand the impact of gender on our society, our economy and our culture. The Council is committed to promoting gender equality in research across all disciplines and to supporting the integration of sex and gender analysis into research content. These commitments are essential to the achievement of research excellence.”

Dr Caitriona Creely, Programme Manager at the Health Research Board also added: “HRB are delighted to mark International Women’s Day with this event. Both of our funded projects showcase the very real impact that research on sex and gender can have on improving healthcare for both men and women.

Further information on the successful projects is available at here.