Smashing the double glass ceiling: sharing the untold success of lesbian, bisexual and trans women on International Women’s Day

intwomensdayAt a leadership event yesterday, hosted by Trinity College Dublin to mark International Women’s Day, GLEN (Gay & Lesbian Equality Network) celebrated the achievements of lesbian, bisexual and trans (LBT) leaders in business, academia and human rights.

Speakers at the event included:

Prof. Linda Hogan, Vice Provost, Trinity College Dublin,  Ruth Hunt, CEO of Stonewall,UK, Vicky Godolphin, Head of Digital, Accenture Ireland, Denise Charlton, former Director of Women’s Aid and former CEO of Immigrant Council Ireland, Prof. Martine Cuypers, Equality Committee, Trinity College Dublin, Sandra Irwin-Gowran, Director of Education Policy, GLEN.

“Irish lesbian, bisexual and trans women are smashing the double glass ceiling of gender and sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace. There is a growing number of visible lesbian, bisexual and trans women in leadership positions in business, academia, human rights and politics in Ireland. These role models are paving the way for LBT women to achieve their full potential in the workplace and in public life”

said Margot Slattery, Co-chair, GLEN, Country President Sodexo, Ireland and recently named the Top LGBT Executive in Ireland.

“In the centenary of 1916, sharing the untold achievements of LBT women in 2016 is as important as sharing the stories of women of 1916. Leaders such as Katherine Zappone, the first openly lesbian woman to be elected to the Dáil, journalist Ursula Halligan, Cork footballer Valerie Mulcahy and author Emma Donoghue are role models for LBT women in modern Ireland” said Slattery.

Linda Hogan, Vice-Provost, Trinity College Dublin said:

“We are proud of the advances that Ireland has made in relation to LGBT equality legislation, but recognise the need to build on this legislation to create an Ireland where nobody experiences the sting of inequality which women have felt for many decades.”

Lesbian, bisexual and trans women can face challenges in the workplace based on their gender, sexual orientation and gender identity. Research by Trinity College Dublin found that 1/3 of lesbian women have experienced discrimination in the workplace. This is in stark contrast to just 1 in 10 of the general population who have faced discrimination at work. Further research shows 2 in 5 Irish trans people had experienced problems at work as a result of their trans identity or trans history.

“In the wake of marriage equality and gender recognition in Ireland, we know there is still significant work to be done to create a culture that equally values and supports lesbian, bisexual, and trans women in the workplace, at home and at school in Ireland” said Slattery.

“Diversity and inclusion is a core value and part of Trinity College Dublin’s liberal tradition which has enriched the nature of our intellectual enquiry. We are proud to partner with GLEN to mark International Women’s Day” said Hogan.

The event was part of GLEN’s Diversity Champions Network of Employers committed to LGBT inclusion in the workplace. This event saw business leaders, human rights activists, and academics join with Ruth Hunt, CEO of Stonewall UK, the UK’s leading LGBT rights organisation, to discuss how to advance visibility and participation of LBT women of all levels in workplaces.

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