News

As part of WorkEqual’s 2021 November awareness campaign, we are hosting the upcoming seminar ‘Reimagining Childcare Provision’, taking place online on Thursday, 25th November from 11am to 1pm.

The seminar, hosted by founder of WorkEqual Sonya Lennon, will feature international guest speakers showcasing international best practice in public childcare provision and will explore how Ireland can learn from other countries to improve our childcare system and promote family-friendly work cultures.

The seminar will also explore practical ways that employers can shape their workplace polices to facilitate greater participation and progression for women.

The event is free to attend and anyone with an interest in gender equality, workplace relations, childcare and related issues is welcome.

Event Line-Up

The event will be hosted by WorkEqual founder Sonya Lennon and contributors will include:

Keynote Speakers:

  • Brynhildur Heiðar-og Ómarsdóttir Secretary General of the Icelandic Women’s Rights Association
  • Michell Doull, Head of Professional Learning and QA at Early Years Scotland

Experiences from the workplace:

  • Mary McCluskey, Engagement, Wellbeing and Diversity Manager for Permanent TSB
  • Justin Sinnott, Transformation Project Management Office Manager for SOLAS

Panel Discussion:

  • Roderic O’Gorman TD, Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth
  • Frances Byrne, Director of Policy and Advocacy at Early Childhood Ireland
  • Mark Paul, Columnist and Business Affairs Correspondent at The Irish Times
  • Aisling Campbell, HR Lead, Accenture Operations

Register now:

Registration is free and available here.


Event Running Order

11am

Opening remarks by event MC Sonya Lennon, founder of WorkEqual

11.05am

Keynote addresses: Experiences from our neighbours

  • Brynhildur Heiðar-og Ómarsdóttir Secretary General of Icelandic Women’s Rights Association
  • Michele Doull, Head of Professional Learning and QA at Early Years Scotland

11.50am

Experiences from the workplace:  

Mary McCluskey, Engagement, Wellbeing and Diversity Manager for Permanent TSB and Justin Sinnott, Transformation Project Management Office Manager for SOLAS will share their experiences of juggling childcare and career – and the policies that make this achievable.  

12.05pm

Panel discussion – What we can learn, what we can do:

Responding to the issues raised by the keynote speakers and interviewees, this panel discussion will examine the challenges and solutions from an Irish perspective and route the solutions in the Irish context. We are delighted to have on the panel:
– Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Roderic O’Gorman TD;
– Frances Byrne, Director of Policy and Advocacy at Early Childhood Ireland; – Aisling Campbell, Head of HR, Accenture; and
– Mark Paul, Business Affairs Correspondent with The Irish Times.

12.45pm

Audience Q&A


About the Contributors

Brynhildur Heiðar- og Ómarsdóttir

Secretary General of IWRA, the Icelandic Women’s Rights Association.

Brynhildur is a passionate advocate for education, reading, knowledge building, and open and free access to information. She has catalogued (most of) her library and published its contents on the internet and built a little free library for her neighbourhood.

Brynhildur is the current chair of Fjöruverðlaunin – the Icelandic Women’s Literature Prize. Brynhildur is also the Treasurer of Fræðagarður – the Union of University Graduates in Iceland and an alternate board member for the European Women’s Lobby, and an editorial board member of the feminist magazine 19. júní.

Michele Doull

Head of Professional Learning and Quality Assurance with Early Years Scotland

Michele changed career 17 years ago and began a journey to understand and appreciate the needs of our youngest children and the adults who work tirelessly with and for them. Getting it right for both children and adults drives Michele’s professional practice. Michele worked in Local Authority Early Learning and Childcare settings before moving to Further Education as a Lecturer and Manager.

In her current role as Head of Professional Learning and Quality Assurance with Early Years Scotland, she connects with practitioners to support their provision of rich and meaningful experiences for babies and young children. Michele is committed to encouraging adults to truly hear the voice of children; listening for the words that are felt but perhaps not able to be spoken.

Mary McCluskey

Engagement, Wellbeing and Diversity Manager for Permanent TSB

Mary McCluskey is responsible for managing the delivery of Permanent TSB’s Diversity and Inclusion Strategy. As well as leading colleague engagement initiatives and the Health and Wellbeing Programme for the organisation’s 2,500 employees, Mary is also mother to a 7-year-old son and 5-year-old twin girls and avails of Permanent TSB’s Smarter Working Options, which enables her to work a four-day week.

Twitter: @permanenttsb

Justin Sinnott

Manager of the Transformation Project Management Office at SOLAS

Justin Sinnott joined SOLAS in 2017 and his current role is to implement the 2020-2024 Further Education and Training Strategy. Previously, he was the Manager of the Research and Strategy Unit in SOLAS.

Prior to joining SOLAS, Justin held positions in the Higher Education Authority, the Irish Research Council and served as an Independent County Councillor on Fingal County Council from 2014 to 2019. He is also a former Chairperson of Blackrock Further Education Institute.

In addition to his current full time managerial position, Justin is currently parenting two young children alongside his wife who is also working full-time.

Roderic O’Gorman TD

Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth

Minister O’Gorman was elected to represent the Dublin West constituency and appointed to his current role in 2020. Prior to this, he served on Fingal County Council representing the Green Party, having been elected first in 2014 and again in 2019.

An EU law lecturer, he has worked with the DCU Brexit Institute, focusing on how to manage the challenge facing Ireland as a result of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union. He has also served on the board of management of five schools – Coolmine, Scoil Choilm, Danu Special School, Pobail Setanta and Castleknock Community College.

Twitter: @rodericogorman

Frances Byrne

Director of Policy and Advocacy, Early Childhood Ireland  

Frances Byrne leads the Policy, Advocacy and Campaigns at Early Childhood Ireland which is the leading organisation in the early years sector in Ireland, supporting over 3,900 members.

Since the 1990s, Frances has worked in a variety of large and small organisations in the public and voluntary sectors, including for more than a decade at OPEN, the national network of lone parent groups.

A former Chairperson of the National Women’s Council of Ireland, Frances was a board member of the European Anti-Poverty Network – Ireland, and was a founding member of three NGO-led initiatives driving positive change: Claiming our future; the Advocacy Initiative and the Equality and Rights Alliance.

Frances has been appointed by various governments to a range of policy bodies including: the National Economic and Social Council; the National Volunteering Committee and the Consumer Panel of the Financial Regulator.

Twitter: @FraffieB @EarlyChildhdIrl

Aisling Campbell

HR Lead, Accenture Operations

Aisling is a HR Lead in Accenture Ireland responsible for ensuring a positive and inclusive employee experience. As a working parent, Aisling is passionate about advocating flexibility and choice for parents and carers in the workplace, while enabling people to achieve their individual career aspirations.

Twitter: @Accenture_Irl

Mark Paul

Columnist and Business Affairs Correspondence with The Irish Times

Mark has written extensively about issues such as female representation in boardrooms and at senior executive level in Irish business, the drive to increase paternity leave and shared parental leave rights, and how this could affect workplace gender equality.

Twitter: @MarkPaulTimes @IrishTimes
Sonya Lennon

Broadcaster, designer, entrepreneur and founder of WorkEqual

Sonya Lennon is a designer, businesswomen and multi award-winning social entrepreneur. She founded Dress for Success Dublin (the predecessor to WorkEqual) 10 years ago to support women to enter the workforce and progress their careers. She established the charity’s annual workplace gender equality campaign in 2016 and co-authored the 2019 WorkEqual conference report ‘Practical Steps to Workplace Equality’.

Twitter: @sonyalennon @WorkEqual

You can watch the seminar back here: