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International Women's Day 2021

"A challenged world is an alert world and from challenge comes change.
So let's all choose to challenge." IWD 2021


This year's International Women's Day celebrates the change that is brought about through challenge.

We looked to our female leaders, role models, and influencers and asked them to share their stories of challenge with us.

We see a shared characteristic, a common thread running through all these stories - that of 'resilience'.

This day, on International Women's Day 2021, we celebrate the resilience that has made us strong, that has driven us to succeed, that has helped us change our world through challenge.

Read our stories here #IWDResilience

Dr Áine Ní Shé, Registrar and Vice President for Academic Affairs (Acting), MTU, Cork Campus

"Each day brought a new challenge. My colleagues pulled out all the stops in the sudden and unexpected move to remote teaching, learning, and assessment, and the associated reconfiguration of our student supports and services to the online context. Looking back, I am extremely proud of what we, students and staff alike, have achieved in partnership"

Dr Áine Ní Shé, MTU


Anne Wright, Lecturer, Creative Computing, IADT

"For me, staying strong and being resilient during the COVID pandemic comes from being honest about how I am feeling. Strange as that may seem, simply saying 'I'm having a bad day' is quite empowering, and this honesty has always been met with support"

Anne Wright, IADT


Dr Ashling Jackson, Senior Lecturer Dept. of Social Sciences, AIT

"International Women’s Day provides a wonderful opportunity to recognise and celebrate the achievements of women worldwide and throughout history. It creates a space to acknowledge how women have overcome adversity in their lives and continue to do so."

Dr Ashling Jackson, AIT


Dr Breda O’Dwyer, Founder and Head of CEED, MTU

"Doors do open, innovative solutions do happen, conversations can generate new beginnings, connecting minds can make it easier to keep going and we to change things and to make it happen – we call this resilience.  And to illustrate this even more --- always remember just when the caterpillar thought the world was all over………it became a butterfly"

Dr Breda O'Dwyer, MTU


Dr Catherine Rossiter, IADT

"Challenges in our lives are often opportunities to change, to change ourselves for the better, opportunities to make situations better for those who follow behind us. Following complex dealing with family law and the family courts in Ireland, I have come to see first hand how the voice of a child is often not fully heard and especially that of a disabled child. This challenge has lit a firebrand within me to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves."

Dr Catherine Rossiter, IADT


Christina Boland, Star Pupil Programme, supporting young Travellers

"I stand proud today knowing that when no one believed in me that I believed in myself. I had to fight for my education and my children’s education and will continue to look  for what’s  best for all Traveller students in the education system. I know what it feels like to face discrimination but I also know that Travellers are strong people.  I will always be grateful to my parents who often told me to be nice to people and not to look down on someone who is struggling."

Christina Boland, MTU


Dr Edel Healy, Head of School of Health & Science, DkIT

"During the COVID 19 pandemic the importance of the core values of compassion and empathy have come centre stage. My colleagues in DkIT have supported each other and their students through this challenging time in a meaningful manner both professionally and personally"

Dr Edel Healy, DkIT


Fiona Kelly, Schools Engagement and RPL Officer, LYIT

"Today, I would like to celebrate all the amazing women in our lives. This year has shown us that we are strong, that we can do anything that we put our minds to and I want to acknowledge all of my colleagues that have worked extremely hard over the last year. I have no doubt that we will come through stronger and more resilient"

Fiona Kelly, LYIT


Flavia Messina, Researcher at ORBITAL ITN at WIT

"We still have so much more to figure out about COVID-19 so I don't know where the future of my own research will go, but I am hopeful that there will be light at the end of the tunnel, I'll get to travel again, meet the other researchers, and keep researching ways to fight ocular degeneration".

Flavia Messina, WIT


Gertie Raftery, Head of Counselling, DkIT

"Self-compassion is so important right now. None of us can be as productive as we have been in the past so we need to lower our expectations and say "I am doing the best I can for now" rather being self- critical and judgemental"

Gertie Raftery, DkIT


Dr Johanna Archbold, Institute Librarian in AIT

"Recent years have seen a really positive expansion in the idea of personal resilience as part of your toolkit for managing mental health. As a leader who is looking to support teams to build resilience, it is important to understand that it does not come about through getting past hard times or challenges, but through achieving a broader understanding of work-life balance"

Dr Johanna Archbold, AIT


Lindsay Malone, Deputy Head of Faculty of Lifelong Learning, IT Carlow

Lindsay is a firm believer that education, particularly part time education, has a transformational effect on people’s lives as it enables them to work, to care for their families and to upskill all at the same time. 

Lindsay Malone, IT Carlow


Professor Margaret Linehan, Head of School of Humanities, MTU, Cork Campus

"Keeping it simple, is a mantra I preach to my research students, since it is daunting to look at a completed thesis when starting out with a blank page Throughout our everyday lives of multitasking, I believe that keeping every undertaking simple and focused allows us to keep everything in proper perspective, and not to fail under a burden of ‘sweating the small stuff’."

Prof Margaret Linehan, MTU


Maria Staunton, Manager of the GMIT Mayo iHub and EMPOWER Coordinator

"This pandemic has been challenging for all of us and with the closure of schools and childcare facilities parents have had to assume additional childcare responsibilities with the burden falling disproportionately on women. I believe our Covid experiences will make us stronger and look at programmes like EMPOWER with new eyes. From small beginnings women can go on to build strong sustainable businesses, competing nationally and internationally while remaining in our communities."

Maria Staunton, GMIT


Mary Rogers, Head of Department of Building and Civil Engineering, GMIT

"We set about engaging our industry stakeholders to work with us towards a new future, based on research-informed developments in Sustainability and Digital Construction. Through collaboration with a variety of industry stakeholders we were rewarded with numerous national industry and educational awards. As Head of Department of Building and Civil Engineering in GMIT, I feel privileged to have so many innovative and committed people on my team working to create a resilient future for the construction industry."

Mary Rogers, GMIT


Mary O Doherty, Health & Safety Officer, WIT

"My support system of inspiring family members, friends and virtual coffee buddies remind me every day what’s truly important in life. We will all emerge from this pandemic stronger, more resilient and with a greater respect for the preciousness and unpredictability of life."

Mary O'Doherty, WIT


Dr Maura Clancy, Dean, Faculty of Applied Sciences and Technology and Director of Progression Pathways, LIT

"Am I able, will I fail? Don’t let those fears prevent you from doing what instinctively feels right. If anyone had predicted my career path 21-years ago, I would have dismissed it as fairy-tale material, yet I am living proof of what is possible if you just focus on what’s in front of you and don’t let fear be the barrier"

Dr Maura Clancy, LIT


Dr Nicola Anderson, Lecturer, Department of Electronics and Mechanical Engineering, LYIT

"The current pandemic has definitely brought its challenges. I have two small children ages four and two and while juggling work and family life is challenging at times, I have tried to embrace the time at home with the kids being a young age. I like to remain positive and upbeat and I look forward to days when things return to normal again. Today, on International Women’s Day, I would like to celebrate all women and pay particular tribute to Women in Engineering"

Dr Nicola Anderson, LYIT


Noreen Keane, Head of Counselling, LIT

"I believe my resilience comes from having a positive life attitude and focusing on the little things that matter, especially now in the context of Covid-19.  I really believe in the ability of humans to grow, develop and make positive life changes and this motivates me in my work every day."

Noreen Keane, LIT


Dr Olivia Hurley, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Sport Psychology, IADT

"I know I’m incredibly lucky to have parents, siblings and friends, like ‘Prof’, who have helped to instill in me a sense of self-belief and self-strength so that I could navigate this difficult time. I hope my ‘Brave Action’ project will do that for other people too. I aim to keep ‘marching to the rhythm of my life’ by ACTing – Accepting the things I cannot control, Controlling the things that I can and continually Training (reminding) myself to know the difference!"

Dr Olivia Hurley, IADT


Dr. Paula Fitzpatrick, Sport Science Lecturer and Research Director within HealthCORE, IT Carlow

"A common thread to overcoming the challenges we face as educators and researchers is in the strength of the team around us. I feel very fortunate to work in a collaborative environment, surrounded by colleagues and mentors that foster resilience in the face of the failures, doubts and dilemnas that inevitably arise throughout the research process"

Dr Paula Fitzpatrick, IT Carlow


Petrina Comerford, MTU Kerry

"There may be bumps and turns in the road but if you have the strength and courage to navigate through these challenges you can achieve what you set out to do, embrace your differences as these are the gifts that give you your strength and courage"

Petrina Comerford, MTU


Úna Parsons, Head of Faculty, Engineering & Design, IT Sligo

"The outbreak of Covid 19 in Ireland showed how resilient we can be as a nation when we all come together as one.  When the country first went into lockdown last year, Sligo University Hospital approached us for help with reagents for testing, building structures in the hospital to make it covid safe, PPE and even emergency ventilators.  Every skill across all departments in IT Sligo were needed to get us through this and together we were able to help protect our frontline workers across the region.  This past year has shown that resilience is our greatest asset."

Úna Parsons, IT Sligo


Zexiao Xiao Masters of Arts in Accounting student LYIT

Zexiao is a great international student ambassador for LYIT and the President of the Chinese Students and Scholars Association. She encourages everyone to look after their mental health. “I sing, play games and interact online with friends to beat loneliness and to keep my mental health in check. I feel that this is very important”.

Zexiao Xiao, LYIT


Clodagh Manga,n Student on the BA in Social Care at MTU, Kerry Campus

Over the past three years I have built on my resilience and it has prepared me for the next stage of my life. I am looking forward to graduating and then taking a year out to relax before embarking on my next academic goal. My intention is to become a counsellor, specializing in supporting people with disabilities, guiding and enabling my clients to reach their potential. I know that no matter what life puts in my path I will not only survive but I will thrive.

Clodagh Mangan, MTU


Brid Mc Elligott, VP, Research, Development & External Engagement, MTU, Kerry Campus

This year's theme of IWD is ‘Choose to Challenge’. As leaders this is what we need to encourage and make sure that these challenges are posed in a positive and constructive manner. We need to show that anything is possible, to encourage female colleagues to try new and different things, to challenge the conventional and to be confident in their own self-belief, views and opinions.

Brid Mc Elligott, MTU



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