Irish Research Council to mark IWD2017 by highlighting research improving women’s lives

The Irish Research Council has today (05.03.17) released a specially commissioned infographic highlighting research projects aimed at improving the lives of women in advance of International Women’s Day 2017.

The projects featured in the infographic include Deirdre Daly’s research on maternal health and maternal morbidity. Her work found that many first-time mothers experience health problems three months postpartum, long after free maternity care ends. Researcher Katherine O’Donnell’s study of the history of the Magdalene Laundries is also highlighted. Her work played a role in Enda Kenny’s formal apology to the Magdalene survivors in February 2013 and the establishment of a redress scheme.

Other projects featured in the infographic include research on:

  • Legislative gender quotas and female electoral candidacy, by Fiona Buckley; 
  • Irishwomen and World War One, by Fionnuala Walsh; 
  • The clinical & social impact of Theya Healthcare post-surgery bras, by Claire Kelly; 
  • 'Inclusive Centenaries' for women and youths living in direct provision, by Niamh Reilly; and 
  • Sexual consent and practical sexual consent workshops for young adults, by Pádraig MacNeela. 

Commenting on the IWD2017 campaign, Dr Eucharia Meehan, Director of the Irish Research Council said: 'There is interesting and ground-breaking work being carried out by many of our researchers on topics ranging from maternal health and women in politics to breast cancer recovery.'

'International Women’s Day is a great opportunity to celebrate and showcase the work and achievements of our researchers who are making a difference to the lives of women through their studies.'

Promoting gender equality in the research sector

Dr Meehan also highlighted a number of steps the Council has taken to promote gender equality, including:

  • Introducing gender blind assessment for funding calls; 
  • Becoming the first research funding agency in Ireland to integrate the sex/gender dimension into applications to its funding programmes; 
  • Introducing a gender balance requirement in assessment panels for Council awards; 
  • Adopting key recommendations of the National Review of Gender Equality in Higher Education Institutions, by requiring higher education institutions to have Athena SWAN gender equality accreditation in order to be eligible for research funding. 

'As a research funder, the Irish Research Council is committed to promoting gender equality, building on our work to date and contributing further to a research eco-system that cultivates excellence and equal opportunities regardless of gender,' said Dr Meehan. 'We will be launching a specific gender equality research funding strand later in 2017 under our Research for Policy and Society Programme.

'The Irish Research Council is leading on gender internationally, with many research funding agencies in Europe and beyond looking to the Council’s gender policies as a model of good practice that can be replicated locally.'