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Week-long Celebration of Women as MIC Marks International Women’s Day

Two female students wearing MIC t-shirts and jeans lean on silver poles outside the steps leading up to a door on the Foundation Building at MIC

In celebration of International Women’s Day (IWD) on 8 March, Mary Immaculate College (MIC) will host a number of online events throughout the week from 8-12 March. From roundtable discussions to public lectures and more, MIC will celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, while also examining the challenges facing women in today’s society. In light of this year’s theme of #ChooseToChallenge, these conversations will explore ways in which we can all challenge gender bias.

Organised by Edel Foster, Athena SWAN Project Manager, and Dr Jade Dillon, lecturer in the Department of English Language and Literature at MIC, the discussions throughout the week-long event will provide the public with different perspectives on topical issues such as Mother and Baby Homes and the impact of COVID-19 on women. In addition, conversations on the challenges facing women will explore sexual awareness, self-identity and stigmas surrounding the female body.

Announcing details of MIC’s events for IWD 2021, Edel Foster, Athena SWAN Project Manager, said, “MIC celebrates International Women’s Day (and International Men’s Day in November) annually to demonstrate our commitment to gender equality. This commitment is in support of our Athena SWAN goals and Gender Action Plan, which sets out clear targets and goals in our journey to challenge gender bias and inequality. Our week-long celebration of women aims to highlight the importance of challenging biases and misconceptions in the interest of creating a more inclusive and gender-equal world. The progress towards gender equality is not just ‘for women’; we need the support of all genders.”

Dr Jade Dillon added, “I would encourage everyone, male and female, to attend these events because they illustrate the myriad of gendered issues that affect women. Our events signify the importance of discussion and offer the opportunity to learn from one another. MIC Athena SWAN’s celebration of IWD 2021 is a powerful platform of knowledge, authenticity and action.”

Some of the highlights of the week-long event include a roundtable discussion on the representation of women in the arts. Featuring contributions from two MIC graduates, Maria Flannery, multimedia journalist with RTÉ News, and Dr Paul McNamara, spoken word poet and playwright, as well as Limerick based artist and illustrator, Helena Grimes, and Dr Carole Quigley from MIC’s Department of Drama and Theatre Studies, this discussion will also explore the impact of COVID-19 on the arts sector. Co-organiser of MIC’s IWD events and lecturer in the Department of English Language and Literature, Dr Jade Dillon, will present a public lecture on the representations of girlhood and the pubescent body in children's literature. This discussion will have a particular focus on Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’.

MIC PhD researcher, Santhi Corcoran, and Ann Piercy from the Midwest Migrant Community Network will speak about the work of this newly formed network, and in light of her role with GOSHH, Ann will also discuss the challenges currently being faced by women living with HIV. In addition, MIC graduate and postdoctoral researcher at the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway, Dr Tríona Waters, will reveal the harrowing stories of women and children resident in Limerick’s Lunatic Asylum during the years 1827 to 1907, while Helen O’Dea from MIC’s Medical Centre will present a webinar for teachers and parents exploring ways in which to discuss sexual health with children.

According to Dr Jade Dillon, co-organiser of MIC’s IWD events, “These conversations not only highlight the challenges faced by women but also how we now challenge society in return. When we choose to challenge the perceived notion of normalcy, we enact change – a change that will lead to a better and equal world. By openly discussing and choosing to challenge stigmas surrounding the female body, we are progressing towards a more informed cohort whilst also giving agency back to those who have been silenced.”

Edel Foster also commended the work of MIC’s FemFest organising committee noting, “Our IWD events are inspired by the amazing work of the MIC FemFest organising committee who have worked hard on creating a community of interest across all areas of MIC, as well as celebrating so many women’s achievements from outside MIC.”


8 March (all-day): All Female Artists on Wired FM. More information here

8 March (10am): IWD Pilates with Nicola Brennan. Register here

8 March (11am): Athena SWAN Coffee Morning. Register here

8 March (8pm): Defying Gravity - A Musical Celebration of Women (streaming from the Lime Tree Theatre). Book tickets (€10) here 

9 March (1pm): Women and the Arts Roundtable Discussion. Register here

9 March (4pm): Public Lecture – The Women and Children of the Limerick District Lunatic Asylum, 1827–1907. CANCELLED (If you have an interest in the subject matter, please send any questions you may have to Dr Tríona Waters on

10 March POSTPONED - Rescheduled time TBA: Gender and Wellbeing – Men Die Quicker and Women Get Sicker?  Register here

10 March (3pm): Public Lecture – Exploring the Role of Religious Book Publishing in Lifelong Religious Education (hosted by MIC’s Irish Institute for Catholic Studies). MS Teams link

11 March (11am): Tips for Teachers and Parents on How to Discuss Sexual Health with Children. Register here

11 March (12pm): Normalistas en Irlanda: Conversations with MIC’s Mexican M Ed students who have published a book about their experiences on the San Patricios Programme at MIC (hosted by MIC's International Office). Register here

11 March (3pm): Public Lecture – Creating Beloved Communities: An Overview of the Midwest Migrant Community Network and Discussion on Women Living with HIV. Register here

12 March (11am): Public Lecture – Representations of Girlhood and the Pubescent Body in Children’s Literature. Register here

12 March (4pm): Exploring Gender in the Classroom (part of the B Ed International Monthly Lecture Series). MS Teams link 

Throughout the week MIC Libraries and MIC's International Office will be sharing IWD themed updates across their social media channels and on 8 March, An Seomra Cairdrimh will host an online quiz. 

Further information on International Women’s Day 2021 is available here.