Status of women today


INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY:The views of Irish women in senior European roles

Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science

“I would, of course, never use the slogan ‘A lot done, a lot more to do’. But it sums it up. Some women are much more influential and powerful. But only some women.”

Catherine Day, Secretary General of the European Commission

“We still have issues. Even 40 years on, things are not perfect. There’s still a gender pay gap not only in Ireland but elsewhere. But I don’t think young women feel anything other than capable. Things that were issues 40 years ago just are not now . . . Almost all men think they could do any job but women need a bit of a push to put themselves forward for senior management positions. That’s not just Irish women, it’s women in general. They have more self-doubt.”

Lucinda Creighton, Minister of State for European Affairs

“I think the possibilities for women in business and society are endless and limitless. As Ireland has grown in confidence through our membership of the EU, I think Irish women have similarly grown in confidence . . . Unfortunately the way our political system is structured is not conducive to female participation.”

Geraldine Byrne Nason, Second Secretary General at the Department of the Taoiseach with responsibility for the EU affairs division (and the only woman to attend the Government’s Economic Management Council)

“There’s a good mix of Irish women representing Ireland publicly. The Irish female voice is definitely being heard. Childcare certainly would be regarded as an area that we wouldn’t be a leading light in. I don’t think we are in a society that’s laced with barriers but women in other societies manage the career/life balance more easily because the support systems are more developed.”

Barbara Nolan, Director of the European Commission Representation in Ireland

“Things have moved rapidly, but when you look at things like childcare, Ireland is still a long way behind other countries . . .

“When I came back to Ireland two years ago to take up this post, I was really struck that I couldn’t see many of the women that went to university with me. I was constantly bumping into men I was in college with, but not the women who had obviously given up their careers at some point.”