Micheline Sheehy Skeffington to give inaugural speech at lecture series named in her honour

A lecture series named in honour of Dr Micheline Sheehy Skeffington and her successful fight for justice and equality for women at NUI Galway is starting next month at the University — and Micheline will be giving the first speech.

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The University Women’s Network (UWN) will launch the Annual Sheehy Skeffington Distinguished Lecture Series on Friday, March 8th, International Women’s Day, from 12.30 to 2 pm in the Aula Maxima at NUI Galway. Micheline will deliver the inaugural speech, titled ‘Standing up to injustice: my Sheehy Skeffington legacy’.

The UWN said the purpose of the series is to ‘mark the courage and persistence shown by Micheline Sheehy Skeffington in speaking up to the injustice shown to women here at NUI Galway.

‘In doing so, she has changed the university, and the whole sector, to all our benefit.’

Each year, the lecture series will celebrate people who have shown the courage to call out injustice and who stood their ground against adversity.

Micheline said she is deeply honoured, but stressed that the positive changes made at NUI Galway would not have been possible without the courage of the five women who took court cases against the University after they, like Micheline, were deemed suitable but not promoted in 2009. It was their willingness to stand up to the University that brought about the Gender Equality Campaign. Micheline also credits the dedication and hard work of campaign supporters with ensuring a successful end to the campaign after all the women were finally promoted last summer. 

“I’m overwhelmed by the honour,” Micheline said. “It’s hard to believe. However, I plan to talk about my grandparents’ and parents’ legacy as well as about my fight for gender equality, as in turn, I feel that my achievements are inevitably linked to their lives of activism.”

All are welcome to attend the lecture.

The event is free, but you can register to attend through Eventbrite by clicking the link below:

SHEEHY SKEFFINGTON LECTURE REGISTRATION

 

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Big Celebration Party for success of campaign is a great night!

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Well, what a truly wonderful evening! Loads of you turned out for our Big Celebration Party in Galway last week and everyone seemed to have a great time. The band was fabulous, the venue and food were lovely and the company was excellent. The celebration provided a fitting tribute to what the six women have done for us. Shivaun Quinlivan, who provided introductions for the night, put their contributions in context before calling Róisín, Elizabeth, Adrienne, Sylvie, Margaret and Micheline, to the stage by listing all the positive changes for women that have occurred not only at NUI Galway but at all Irish universities because of the courageous stand the women made. They received a standing ovation.

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Micheline and partner Nick dancing to the Ska

The night also provided a much-needed processing for the four women who took the High Court cases. It was great to see them happy and dancing after four extremely difficult years. They said afterwards that it had allowed them to finally put all the unpleasantness behind them.

The campaign is now over. The work is done. All of us involved can sit back with the satisfaction we’ve done something of real worth to improve the world around us. Thank you for persisting.

If you want to know more about the campaign, just flick back through the previous posts to this site over the last four years.

Very Big Celebration!

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380 of you have registered to come on Friday! It’s going to be a wonderful night! We’ve a great venue, we’ve a great sound system, and it will be filled with like minded good people.  If you’re still in two minds check out our 10 piece band, Interskalactic  playing the classic Ska hit Al Capone.  Hope to see you there.

REGISTER and more info

Optional dress – Two Tone

Al Capone:

Big Celebration Party for Success of Campaign – please register and come join us!

 

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We’re having a great big party on Friday 12th October in Galway to celebrate the promotion of the women whose fight against gender discrimination this campaign supported. We’d like everyone who’s supported the campaign and/or supported the women, to come. What ever it is you did, even just cheering us on. We’ve hired a big venue and booked a really great 8 piece Ska band (check them out below). Use this link to find out more and register:

REGISTER (and info)

We really hope to see you there!

 

Big Celebration Party !

invite7

We’re having a great big party on Friday 12th October in Galway to celebrate the promotion of the women whose fight against gender discrimination this campaign supported. We’d like everyone who supported the campaign, or supported the women in some other way, to come. We’ve hired a big venue and booked a really great band. (Check them out below).

We’ve emailed invites to everyone on our mailing list but we must have left out some supporters. If you’d like to come and you’ve done anything to support the campaign – bought a T shirt, handed out leaflets, demonstrated, come to the benefit concert, or whatever – then write to us at Mich3c@gmail.com and let us know what you did, and we’ll send you an invite.

Hope to see you there!

 

 

 

The campaign’s task is done.

With the settlement of the four women’s High Court cases, the aims of this campaign are achieved. The campaign started when previous University President Jim Browne claimed to RTE education reporter Emma O’Kelly that Micheline Sheehy Skeffington, who had recently won her high-profile case, was on his new Gender Equality Task Force. It was a lie which Micheline used to declare three conditions needed for her to join. When he refused to agree to them, she called an open meeting. At that meeting, this campaign was formed to achieve those three conditions:

Condition 1. That NUI Galway promotes the five other women who, along with Dr Sheehy Skeffington, were interviewed, deemed suitable, but not promoted in 2009.

Dr Elizabeth Tilley was promoted last year as a result of the Labour Court case she took over the 2009 promotion round, Dr Adrienne Gorman was promoted through the 2016/17 promotion round, and the settlement of the High Court cases taken by Dr Róisín Healy, Dr Margaret Hodgins and Dr Sylvie Lannegrand along with Dr Gorman includes their promotion to Senior Lecturer. So all five women have now been promoted.

Condition 2. That NUI Galway puts right the subsequent promotion round to Senior Lecturer in 2014 in a way which ensures gender balance among the successful candidates.

The only women to challenge this round in court were the same four women who took the High Court cases. They took parallel cases in the District Court under the Equality Act (for which they were out of time for the 2009 round) . In settling their High Court cases, they agreed to withdraw these other cases.

Condition 3. That NUI Galway starts to address the issue of gender imbalance in senior posts by adopting a policy of promoting the same percentage of women from each level as the percentage of women at that level.

This policy was adopted by NUI Galway in 2016. NUI Galway was the first Irish or British university to adopt a quota system to address gender imbalance. The University then announced that the 2016/17 quota would be only 40%, rising at the following promotion round to 50%. We made much of the fact that 40% was only a 1% improvement on the previous round. For the actual round, 50% of those promoted were female.

NUI Galway has continued to improve the situation for female academics, part of profound changes occurring for all women employed in Irish higher education, ensured by the threat from government to withhold research grants if they are not made. We believe all this came about, first through Micheline’s Equality Tribunal win, but also crucially by the continuing media coverage made possible by the four women taking High Court cases.

We also believe that the four women’s settlement was down to that publicity, much of which we created, not their lawyers. In the upcoming court case, NUI Galway was attempting to have the women’s cases thrown out on a technicality and could well have succeeded. However, having seen how large our demonstration was likely to be outside the High Court — the holding of which was stopped by the last-minute deferral for arbitration — NUI Galway, we now know, decided they had to avoid any further hearings because of all the bad publicity.

The day after the settlement at the High Court, Micheline met with the four women. She tweeted this picture of her with Adrienne, Sylvie, Margaret and Róisín.

High Tea tweet

At their meeting, they discussed what to do with the leftover money raised by this campaign for legal fees. The four women and Micheline agreed that the money returned from the legal fees should go to what was specified by the campaign when raising the money — a fund for other women with employment issues at NUI Galway. The campaign will explore how such a fund might be possible.

They also agreed to have a celebratory party, but in October, to give time for everyone to recover, to which they hope as many supporters as possible will come!

When we know more about both, we will post it here.

Irish society has been changed for the better and none of what has happened would have been possible without your support, however apparently minor it may seem to you. We now know that NUI Galway started to really fear what this campaign could do once we had that benefit concert with 800 people at it. It doesn’t take much to scare bullies! All you have to do is have the courage to stand up to them.

Thank you.

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