United We Stand. Divided We Fall.
Champions #EmbraceEquity – we must all stand together for gender parity this International Women’s Day 2023.

In a world where diversity has become the norm and inclusivity is now a staple of good HR policy, women are still fighting for gender equality. For equal pay and equal terms. A working landscape where employees are promoted on merit, discrimination has been relegated to the history books and in which stereotypes have no place.


For how much longer will women have to continue asking for the equal Ts & Cs which are now part and parcel of HR policies covering nearly every other minority group. Except that women are not a minority. Women are one-half of the world’s population, and in all countries, bar two – China and India – are in the majority. And yet, they invariably remain multiple rungs below their male counterparts on the ladders of career, pay and promotion.

Not so Natasha Adams, CEO of Tesco Ireland, Adaire Fox-Martin, head of Google Ireland or Siobhan Talbot, MD Glanbia. These three women are part of an elite squad of female CEOs at the helm of Irish-based organisations.

Then there’s Catherine Moran, Ireland’s first female Neurosurgeon. Appointed to the role in Dublin’s Beaumont Hospital, Ireland’s first woman consultant neurosurgeon says she feels she has an obligation to encourage other women to follow her into neurosurgery.

“I have had good female role models, in particular Alexandra Golby, professor of neurosurgery at Harvard Medical School, who was a warm, friendly person I could talk to. So, I have a role in encouraging other women into this specialty. I’d love it if we had more women in neurosurgery,”

“What about women in ISO?” I hear you ask! Good point. Well, apart from our very own trailblazing CEO, Caroline Geoghegan, there are several high fliers in the world of industry-standard management systems. The ISO itself has several women assigned to key roles across the organisation. Women such as Bronwyn Evans, VP of Finance, Dr. Angelique Botha, Chair Committee on Reference Materials and Liu Mei, Secretary of Greenhouse Gas Management, to name but a few.

And what about the woman whose face was all over our news channels on Sunday night when she announced that agreement had been reached on the groundbreaking UN High Seas Treaty with the words, “The ship has reached the shore.”

Rena Lee, President of the International Conference on Marine Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction told delegates attending the conference, “Our children don’t go on excursions, they go on learning journeys. And I can safely say that this has been the learning journey of a lifetime”.

The UN reached the historic agreement to protect huge parts of the world’s oceans on Sunday 5th March after a marathon 48 hour session. The legally binding deal is designed to protect biodiversity in international waters after a staggering ten years of negotiations. The UN High Seas Treaty will put 30% of the world’s seas and oceans under protection by the end of the decade. There will also be restrictions on fishing, shipping and deep-sea mining.

Ms. Lee, who was elected President of the International Conference in April 2018, is also the Ambassador for Oceans and Law of the Sea Issues and Special Envoy of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Singapore. An expert in Public International Law, specialising in climate and environmental law, Ms. Lee has held various key roles in public office since joining public service in 1992.

You can find out more about the UN High Seas Treaty here

And, if you were lucky enough to have been tuned into BBC R3’s Private Passions on Sunday 5th March, you were probably blown away by the courageous candor of trailblazing surgeon Dr Clare Marx, the first female President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England who sadly died from pancreatic cancer in November 2022.

A consultant orthopedic surgeon at 37, Dr Marx went on to become clinical director of Trauma, Orthopedics and Rheumatology at Ipswich Hospital before being elected to the RCS Council in 2009. She went on to become a director for the NHS Trust, before being appointed Chair of the General Medical Council. Again, she was the first woman to fill this role.

Dr Marx was made a Dame on the Queen’s honours list of 2018 for services to surgery in the NHS.

You can hear Dr Marx’s inspirational conversation with Michael Berkeley in full here.

Shattering glass ceilings, leaning in, breaking the mould, trailblazing, sisters doing it for themselves. Whatever terms are your go to. These and many other women have proved time and again, that they – we – can, when given the chance, be successful in our chosen careers. We can be leaders. We can be role models. We can believe and achieve.

All we need is an equal chance to prove ourselves. The same chance as the other 50% of the world’s population. Not the better half. The other half, of a world of equals.


For those of you interested in participating in IWD 23 events, see the National Women’s Council of Ireland website