An online seminar taking place tomorrow, Thursday, 25th November, will explore how Ireland’s childcare sector could be improved by learning from the experiences of other countries.
The seminar – organised by the WorkEqual charity – will hear a keynote addresses from Brynhildur Heiðar-og Ómarsdóttir, Secretary General of the Icelandic Women’s Rights Association. On 12 occasions – including in 2021 – Iceland was ranked the most gender-equal country in the world in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report. In her keynote address, Ms. Ómarsdóttir will focus on how public childcare provision has led to Iceland having one of the highest rates of women’s labour force participation in Europe.
A second keynote address will be delivered by Michele Doull, Head of Professional Learning and Quality Assurance at Early Years Scotland. The Scottish Government’s Programme for Government (2021-2022) commits to expanding free early learning and childcare to one and two-year-olds; and building a new system of wraparound childcare for school-age children. In her keynote address, Ms. Doull will focus on the steps being taken in Scotland to enhance public childcare provision and how Ireland can learn from the Scottish experience.
The two keynote addresses will be followed by a panel discussion, with the panel comprised of:
- Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman TD;
- Frances Byrne, Director of Policy and Advocacy at Early Childhood Ireland;
- Mark Paul, Business Affairs Correspondent with The Irish Times; and
- Aisling Campbell, HR Lead with Accenture Operations.
The event will also include a session on ‘Experiences from the workplace’, featuring two working parents – Mary McCluskey, Engagement, Wellbeing and Diversity Manager at Permanent TSB; and Justin Sinnott, Transformation Project Management Office Manager at SOLAS – speaking about their own experiences of juggling the demands of their career and family lives.
The seminar will run online from 11am to 1pm, and will be MCed by Sonya Lennon, founder of WorkEqual. Commenting in advance, Ms. Lennon said: “Irish parents face one of the highest costs for childcare in the EU, and we also have below average investment in early years care.
“In contrast, Iceland is often held up as the gold standard in childcare provision, while Scotland is in a transition period towards significantly increased public early years care for parents and their children, so these two perspectives will be very interesting in informing our own policies here in Ireland, both at local and national level.”
Those wishing to attend tomorrow’s seminar can register for free at http://tiny.cc/workequalseminar. Further information about the event is available at: https://workequal.ie/reimagining-childcare-in-ireland/.
Contact: Kate McGovern / Darragh McGirr, Alice PR & Events, Tel: 087-0920998 / 086-2599369. Email: email@example.com
Notes to Editor: