Centenary of International Women's Day to be Celebrated at NUI Galway

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

The 100th anniversary of International Women's Day on Tuesday, 8 March, will be marked by a series of events at NUI Galway. International Women's Day was first celebrated in 1911, when more than one million women and men attended rallies around the world campaigning for women's rights. Now a well established worldwide event, International Women's Day has become an annual fixture at NUI Galway. The Global Women's Studies Programme at NUI Galway will be co-hosting a series of events throughout the week of 7 to 11 March. According to Dr Niamh Reilly, of the Global Women's Studies Programme at NUI Galway: "Over the last hundred years many gains have been made that have transformed the position of women in Ireland and around the world. However, there remain persistent and serious gender gaps that must be addressed before we can say that gender equality has been truly achieved. On average male workers and professionals continue to enjoy higher earnings and to occupy more senior positions in both the private and public sectors than women do. In Ireland especially, women are severely under-represented in formal politics and decision making positions, women continue to carry an unfair burden of responsibility for unpaid caring work in the home, and women are many times more likely than men to be subjected to domestic violence, rape and sexual exploitation." Events at NUI Galway will begin on Monday, 7 March, at 12.30pm in Áras Moyola with a seminar by Inez McCormack, women's and human rights activist, first female President of the Irish Congress of Trade Union and Chair of the Participation and Practice of Rights project, on 'Women, Power and Powerlessness'. On Tuesday, 8 March, at 8pm in the O Flaherty Theatre, the Galway Film Society will screen 'Women without Men'. The film brings together, on screen, the personal and the political in the story of four women and the way their lives are affected by the turbulence of the anti-Mossadeq coup in Iran. Directed by Shirin Neshat, it was the winner of Best Director Silver Lion Award at the Venice Film Festival 2009, and will be preceded by an introduction from NUI Galway's Niamh Reilly. A celebration of the life and work of Diana Leonard (1941-2010), Emeritus Professor of Sociology of Education and Gender at the University of London, and founder of the Centre for Research on Education and Gender, takes place on Wednesday, 9 March, at 12.30pm in the Arts Millennium Building. Finally, on Friday, 11 March, a public seminar of the Gender Arc Research Alliance, which is part of the NUI Galway-UL Strategic Alliance, will examine Historical Perspectives on International Women's Day. Speakers will include Caitríona Clear, Senior Lecturer in History, NUI Galway and Bernadette Whelan, Senior Lecturer in History, University of Limerick. This event takes place at 1pm in Áras Moyola. Dr Nata Duvvury, also with Global Women's Studies Programme, notes that: "Persistent underlying patterns of discrimination against women in most societies make women and girls disproportionately vulnerable to an array of harms from extreme poverty and wartime sexual violence to human trafficking and exposure to HIV/AIDS. Thankfully, there are many men and women the world over who are ardent defenders of women's human rights and gender equality. The centenary of International Women's Day offers a welcome opportunity to celebrate their successful efforts to challenge inequalities to date and to remind ourselves that no country yet can boast a perfect record on achievement of genuine gender equality for all groups of women and for sexual minorities." The events at NUI Galway are hosted by the Global Women's Studies Programme in conjunction with the Galway Film Society, the Gender Arc Research Alliance (NUI Galway-UL), and NUI Galway's Irish Centre for Human Rights, and Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching. All are welcome to these free events, for further information contact Gillian Browne at gillian.browne@nuigalway.ie
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