IrFUW Sept Newsletter


IrFUW Newsletter
September 2014
I would like to welcome you to the first edition of the new Irish Federation of University Women (IrFUW) e-Newsletter. There will be five editions annually, reporting on the activities of the Federation, events, meetings, conferences, and advocacy. The focus will be on IrFUW news, but there will also be Association news from the four University Associations, and pieces relating to the International Federation of University Women (IFUW) and University Women of Europe (UWE).It is hoped that, going forward, we as members of the Federation will be more informed, updated and connected as a result of this publication. As this is a two-way street, I look forward to your comments, contributions, and submissions.

I wish to thank Madeleine Nesbitt who previously wrote the IrFUW Newsletter for her expert advice and support. I am most grateful to my IrFUW colleagues Marion Gibson and Heather Elliott, and to Aaron Hughes at Innov8t, for their enormous contribution while we worked together on the development of the IrFUW Website and Newsletter. Caroline Staffell at IFUW headquarters in Geneva has been a marvellous support and I thank her for sharing her expertise and experience. And to my DUWGA colleague Anne Brady and her team at Vermillion Design, especially Michelle Marks and Anna Phelan, who organised the presentation of this first edition, I extend my sincerest gratitude.

Martina Mulrine – Editor 

Book Now

IrFUW Annual Conference, Galway
17th – 19th October 2014

The IrFUW Annual Conference will be hosted by the Galway Association of Women Graduates from Friday 17th October to Sunday 19th October 2014.  It will take place at the Salthill Hotel, The Promenade, Galway.

The Theme is Culture as an Integral and Accessible Part of “Education for All”.

A most exciting programme is offered, with presentations on cultural themes such as Yeats and Joyce, and tours and activities on the Saturday afternoon.

The registration fee is €30, with extra costs for dinner on Friday and Saturday evenings.

For the full programme and booking form see here (148K .PDF file).

Conference queries should be directed to Marie Flatley, email or telephone 00353 91 472397. This is an event not to be missed.

Dates for your Diary

17th – 19th October 2014
IrFUW Annual Conference
Salthill Hotel, Galway

19th October 2014
IrFUW Council Meeting
10.00am in Salthill Hotel, Galway

22nd October 2014
DUWGA Career Series

15th November 2014
DUWGA Annual Lunch

7th March 2015
Public Speaking Competition Final
Venue: Trinity College Dublin

1st June 2015

Letter from IrFUW President – Dr Marion Gibson

Dear Members

It gives me great pleasure to write to you all in this inaugural issue of our new Newsletter.

Madeline Nesbitt, who has been faithfully producing the IrFUW Newsletter for many years, has decided to stand down from this responsibility and I want to publically recognise her great contribution to keeping us all up-to-date over many years. We all like to know what is going on in our Associations and through the wider international arena of the IFUW. We have been most fortunate in being able to enlist the help of Martina Mulrine as Madeline’s successor as Editor. Martina is Coordinator of International Relations (CIR) with Dublin University Women Graduates Association (DUWGA).

Martina has worked tirelessly to produce this first edition of the IrFUW Newsletter which will be emailed to you in future and which will also be accessible through the IrFUW website (currently under development). Some of our members do not have access to email or the internet and I would urge each Association to appoint someone to take responsibility to ensure that these members receive a ‘hard copy’ of the newsletter. The newsletter is to be produced five times per year.

Communication is vital in our world today and we welcome Heather Elliot, a graduate of UCC and DU and a Linked Member now living in Belfast, as the Administrator of our website. Martina and Heather will form our communication team and work in collaboration with all Council Office Bearers to enable the website and the newsletter to bring you all the news locally, nationally and internationally. We wish them both well and we can all help by sending in news and by commenting on the newsletter and website (being launched in October 2014). These are your website and newsletter so please contribute as well as enjoying the content.

Marion Gibson
President IrFUW (2013 – 2016)

Introducing Our PresidentsFor the inauguration of the Newsletter our President and Association Presidents have submitted profiles of themselves and their associations.

This first edition will introduce you to IrFUW President Marion Gibson.

Photograph L to R – Jean Corbett President Galway Women Graduates, Marion Courtney Mc Killen President Dublin University Women Graduates Association, Barbara Mc Henry  President UCD Women Graduates Association, June Smartt President Queens Women Graduates Association, Marion Gibson President IrFUW, Maire O’Connell CER IrFUW at the Galway Women Graduates Association Annual Lunch, May 2014.

Meet the President 
Dr Marion GibsonFor the inauguration of the new newsletter I have asked the various contributors to give a small pen picture of themselves, so I’d better start by doing the same!

I am a graduate of the University of Ulster and Queen’s University Belfast. I also hold an Advanced Diploma in Psychological Trauma Studies from Nottingham Trent University.

I am a widow with one son, Paul who is married to Gayle, an American, and they live in Belfast with my two grandsons, Leon (soon to be sixteen) and Max (who is fourteen).

Although I am now retired from my role as a Principal Social Worker, I still enjoy an active role as a Consultant in Psychological Trauma Management.

I trained as a Social Worker following the death of my husband, who was a Church of Ireland Rector and a graduate of TCD. My interest in how people react to trauma began when we lived and worked in Liverpool and then Belfast. My specialism in psychosocial matters developed during a student placement in the USA and then from my work in the Royal Victoria Hospital and the Belfast City Hospital. I still carry out research and lecture on this subject. These activities have involved international travel at times of natural and person-made disasters over the years. I am a volunteer with the British Red Cross Psychosocial Team which works with the Foreign Office Rapid Response Time at times of international incidents involving British citizens.

I became a member of the Queen’s Women’s Graduates in 1989 when my mother’s cousin, who was Treasurer, paid my fee and took me to my first meeting. Since then I have served QWG in a variety of positions and I am now very proud to be President of the IrFUW. I find QWG and IrFUW has given me a way to somehow ‘pay back’ all of those outstanding women graduates who helped me rebuild by social, academic and work life after my bereavement.

I believe passionately in the aims and objectives of our Federation and it is an honour to carry out the work I do on behalf of the Federation to enable women and girls to achieve their full potential through the empowerment which results from access to education.

Marion Gibson
President IrFUW, 2013 – 2016

IrFUW News
IrFUW marks IFUW Day
The Irish Federation of University Women (IrFUW) marked IFUW Day with a Seminar at the Centre for Global Health, Trinity College, Dublin. This took place on Saturday 24th May and was hosted by Dublin University Women Graduates Association (DUWGA) member Frédérique Vallières.Frédérique had previously been sponsored by IrFUW to present a Paper at the IFUW Triennial Conference at Istanbul in 2013. Members of all the Irish associations, and linked members, were in attendance. Frédérique, who is studying for a PhD at the Centre for Global Health, gave an inspiring account of her work to provide secondary school education to Maasai girls in Tanzania. She described the challenge these girls face to avoid early marriage, and told the stories of brave women who had fled their own communities at age 11-12 in order to continue their education.

Her colleague Dr Fiona Larkan gave a very well-received presentation on her research with HIV patients undergoing antiretroviral therapy in the Western Cape in South Africa. She included a most interesting and in-depth analysis of patient adherence/compliance, which provided an insight into the challenges these patients face in their daily lives. Given the great success of the seminar, IrFUW President Marion Gibson has agreed to continue to mark IFUW Day in the future with an annual event. All in attendance enjoyed the opportunity to meet and chat over lunch at Buswell’s Hotel.

IrFUW President Dr Marion Gibson with host and speaker Frédérique Valliѐres (DUWGA) at the Centre for Global Health, Trinity College Dublin, 24th May 2014.
IFUW Workshop: Building Membership
Ireland was chosen to host one of the Workshops on Building Membership being delivered around the world by Danièle Castle (IFUW Executive Director) and Caroline Staffell (International Development Manager), who travelled from IFUW headquarters in Geneva.Delegates from all the University Associations, and Linked members, attended this event which took place at Buswell’s Hotel, Dublin on 21st June 2014. During a busy interactive programme the following topics were among those discussed: Creating Value for Members, Involving and Motivating Members, Member Engagement, Member Recruitment and Retention. Practices such as SWOT Analysis, Stakeholder Mapping and Action Planning were carried out during the Workshop. This was a most informative event with great practical application. It was an excellent opportunity to engage with our colleagues at Geneva Headquarters who have so much to offer us. We also benefitted from working together with our fellow members across the four University Associations.
Danièle Castle (L) Executive Director IFUW and Caroline Staffell (R) International Development Manager IFUW with Marion Gibson President IrFUW, at the IFUW Workshop on “Building Membership” 21st June 2014.  

Some of the IrFUW Members and Linked members who participated in the IFUW Workshop 21st
June 2014.

L to R – Danièle Castle Executive Director IFUW, Mary Morrissey Vice-President IrFUW, Marion Gibson President IrFUW, Caroline Staffell International Development Manager IFUW, Helen Mulvihill Treasurer IrFUW, and June Smartt President Queen’s Women Graduates Association. 
Association News
DUWGA Career Series
DUWGA has for some time been looking for ways to re-energise its membership base and attract more recent graduates to the association in order to survive and thrive into the future. Younger graduates are looking for opportunities involving professional development, networking, peer-to-peer learning, training, best practice and other relevant activities.With this in mind the DUWGA Career Series was initiated and the plan is to organise 3 events per year. The following is a summary of the events held in the past year:

  • Event No 1 (Oct 2013) was a peer mentoring evening with Google’s Kathryn O’Donoghue, a TCD alumna, who shared her success story on how she reached the top of one of Ireland (and the world)’s most interesting companies.
  • Event No 2 (Jan 2014) was on the theme of Being Mentored/Coached/Managed, with Brian Smyth, Business Consultant and MD of Maybe International, who took those present through the principles for high performance in a most rewarding session.
  • Event No 3, (May 2014)  was an interactive evening with Frances Jones, Founder, Image Matters – – on the topic of Looking the business….the importance of POWERFUL PERSONAL BRANDING (see photo below)

The response to the events has been excellent with increasing numbers attending and new members joining on the night. The next session is Wednesday October 22nd 2014 and will look at the theme of work / life balance with Life and Business Coach Deirdre Cronnelly.

For more information on this Career Series please contact Lorna Jennings DUWGA Vice President

Frances Jones speaking at a DUWGA Career Series Event in May 2014.
Queen’s Women Graduates Association 90th Anniversary
Queen’s Women Graduates Association celebrated its 90th Anniversary at its Annual Dinner which took place on 12th June 2014. IrFUW members from all the Associations travelled to Belfast for this most special and enjoyable occasion.The evening commenced with a Reception in the Naughton Gallery where attendees had the opportunity to meet and to view the contemporary art exhibition, and QWGA President June Smartt led speakers in paying tribute to the association. Dinner was served in the Council Chamber of the Lanyon Building. This part of the evening commenced with the President cutting the cake. An excellent meal was enjoyed by all.

Following dinner Dr Tess Maginess gave a most interesting and entertaining speech on the theme of regional use of English in Northern Ireland. June Smartt and IrFUW President Marion Gibson also spoke. The evening was very much enjoyed by all present. IrFUW wish Queen’s Women Graduates Association its warmest congratulations and continued success on the occasion of its anniversary.

L to R – Mary Morrissey Vice President IrFUW, Heather Elliott Website Co Ordinator  IrFUW, Martina Mulrine Newletter Editor IrFUW, and Eileen Cooley Secretary IrFUW at the Queen’s Women Graduates 90th Anniversary.
June Smartt, President of Queen’s Women Graduates Association, cuts the cake to celebrate the 90th Anniversary of the Association, at the Queen’s Annual Dinner, June 2014.
International Women’s Day March 2014
The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Rt Hon Theresa Villiers MP hosted a coffee reception in the Throne Room, Hillsborough Castle on International Women’s Day on 7 March, for Women’s Forum Northern Ireland. A number of Queen’s Women Graduate Association members were in attendance. The theme for International Women’s Day 2014 was “Inspiring Change”.In her address the Secretary of State made reference to the fact that the role of women in public life has changed significantly since the first International Women’s Day in 1911. She acknowledged however that there is still much work to be done.
Northern Ireland Secretary of State Rt Hon Theresa Villiers MP in conversation with members of Queen’s Women Graduates Association at an event to mark International Women’s Day, at Hillsborough Castle.
Change of Office
Yvonne Mc Garry Groarke has asked to stand down from her role as IrFUW Co Ordinator of International Relations (CIR). Mary O’Donoghue has agreed to take over this task on behalf of UCD, who hold this position in our rota of Council Office Bearers.We are very grateful for her willingness to fill this post which will be ratified at our October Council Meeting. IrFUW wishes to thank Yvonne for her outstanding commitment and contribution. Mary O’Donoghue has previously occupied the CIR position, and we look forward very much to working with her again.
Letter from IFUW President Catherine Bell
In a recent letter (1st Sept 2014) from Catherine Bell, President of IFUW, she reports on progress made during her first year of presidency.  A July survey showed that members consider the progress made by the IFUW office to represent an over 80% increase in value over previously.Now IFUW provides tangible benefits and services such as webinars, workshops, policy papers and press release templates. She emphasises the importance of National Federations and Associations (NFAs) running dedicated, professional and relevant projects and programmes and argues “if we run projects, we can attract new members and grow, if we grow we will attract funds, which in turn will help create more projects” thereby setting up what she terms a “virtuous cycle”. Growing membership is a key focus, and we were very fortunate to have IFUW deliver their Building Membership to us in Dublin in June.
IFUW Triennial Conference 2016
The venue for the IFUW Triennial Conference 2016 will be Cape Town, South Africa. The date has yet to be finalised.
Message of Sympathy
Our President has sent an expression of our Federation’s sincere sympathy to Catherine Bell President of IFUW ,on the death of her Mother, since Catherine returned from the Conference in Bucharest.
University Women of Europe (UWE) News
UWE Meet and Greet, Amsterdam, May 2014
As a preliminary to the UWE Conference and AGM in Bucharest, UWE decided to hold a second international event this year, in the form of a Meet and Greet which was held in Amsterdam in May. Over 40 representatives from the national federations of France, Romania, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Turkey, Finland, Switzerland, Ireland and the UK met for a two-day gathering aimed at exchanging information regarding joint actions at European level. UWE President Edith Lommerse and her team organised an excellent event which delegates found most beneficial and enjoyable.Maire O’Connell (CER) represented IrFUW, and Martina Mulrine (DUWGA, and IrFUW Newsletter Editor) also attended. Pierrette Pape, Acting Co Ordinator European Women’s Lobby (EWL) delivered a presentation on the work of her organisation. The UWE Vice Presidents Marie-José Jonczy and Dr Vera John Mikolajewski (at that time coming close to the end of their double terms in office) outlined UWE’s involvement with the EU and Council of Europe. Ute Krope gave a useful and practical workshop on methods of co operating digitally. Four themes were proposed for the UWE Conference at Bucharest. Martina Mulrine, in conjunction with two delegates from the Netherlands, subsequently researched the theme of Women in Decision Making.

Their findings, and recommended actions for UWE going forward,  were presented in a workshop at the recent UWE Conference in Bucharest. The Meet and Greet was a great success, and provided a wonderful opportunity for networking with our European colleagues and discussing the activities of our national federations and associations (NFAs).  In addition to the most interesting presentations and sessions, delegates enjoyed a tour of North Holland and its beautiful windmills, and a visit to the Dekkar flower farm.

Delegates from 10 European countries who attended the UWE Meet and Greet in Amsterdam
9th – 11th May 2014. 
Report on UWE Conference and AGM, Bucharest, Romania – September 2014
Máire O’Connell, CER IrFUWIn addition to IFUW President Catherine Bell, who travelled from South Africa, delegates from eleven European National Federations attended the UWE Conference and AGM in Bucharest from 4th – 7th September 2014. The Irish Federation was represented by seven members, Marion Gibson (IrFUW President), Honor Baird and Margaret Donaghey of QWGA, Annette Durkan, Colette Grant and Margaret Watchorn of UCDWGA, and Máire O’Connell (IrFUW Co-Ordinator of European Relations) of NUI Galway WGA. Some friends of members also travelled, making the Irish group of eleven one of the largest.

The theme of the Conference was Quality Education for all in Europe.

Among the speakers on the first day was Monica Macovei,  member of the European Parliament, former Justice Minister in Romania and now also an independent candidate for the Romanian presidency due to be contested in November 2014, who addressed the theme Future needs of Europe and Education. In addition to highlighting the importance of education for Romania, Ms. Macovei spoke of problems in the Romanian education system, where 45% of pupils do not pass their end of high school exams. Corruption and plagiarism are rife, but systems such as the installation of cameras in exam halls, are being put in place in an effort to prevent copying. A committee has been set up to investigate plagiarism.

A later speaker, Mihaela Mihai, President of Artis, said that while from the legal point of view,  girls in Romania have the same opportunities to access education as boys, in practice tradition often denies them an education. She felt too that in Europe there is a lot of talk about universities, but not enough emphasis on primary and secondary education.
In an interesting talk entitled Rethinking Education and European Schools, Ana Gorey, President of MEET, the Movement for a European Education Trust, highlighted the difference between the European and International Baccalaureate.

A series of workshops during the Conference dealt with such subjects as Education through Art, The impact of Female Migration on Education and whether Italian schools can deprive future generations of learning foreign languages and history of art.

Preparatory work on four themes which might form part of an Action Plan for UWE for the next two years had been completed by sub-committees of members drawn from various National Federations, including the Irish Federation and these were also presented at the Conference. As part of a sub-committee to study Women in Decision Making, Martina Mulrine of DUWGA had been responsible for the statistical part of the presentation and also looked at the issues of Statutory Regulation and the Benefits of Gender-Balanced Boards. The sub-committee’s findings were presented at the Conference by Marjo Krijn of the Dutch Federation.

Reports on the activities of the National Federations were given by the CER’s  of each NFA on the Sunday morning, followed by election of two new Vice-Presidents of UWE, – Isabelle Trimaille of the French Federation and Elena Flavia Castagnino of the Italian Federation. The AGM then took place.

On the social side, all credit must go to our Romanian hosts, who had organised a pleasant programme of events, including a welcoming reception at the C.O.S. House of Scientists, complete with musicians, a guided bus tour of Bucharest and a Romanian dinner and entertainment at Restaurant Terasa Doamnei. 

Coming in the November Issue

  • Reports and photographs from the IrFUW Annual Conference in Galway.
  • Profiles of our four Association Presidents, Barbara Mc Henry President of UCD Women Graduates Association, Marion Courtney Mc Killen President Dublin University Women Graduates Association, June Smartt President Queen’s Women Graduates Association, and Jean Corbett President Galway Women Graduates Association.