International Women’s Day is a day for celebrating the achievements of women and a calling for gender equality. It is celebrated each year on the 8th of March and St. Mary’s PS celebrated this day on Friday, 6th of March, by inviting some local women in to talk to the senior girls about their careers and the path to fulfilling their careers.
The path to women’s equality has been a long and challenging one and a group of students lead us on that path from the late 1800s to present day. Ms. Veale then introduced our distinguished guests for the day, which included a nurse, an electrician, a beautician, a teacher/principal, a sports broadcaster, an accomplished sports star and a pilot.
Grace O’ Sullivan, a sports broadcaster, explained her role with Beat 102/103 FM. She detailed a typical day covering a match; which included all the preparation work, reporting on the match and the post match analysis. The children were amazed at the amount of time that was involved in the whole process.
Joyce Coffey, a beautician, explained how she arrived at her chosen career. Unlike some of the other guests, Joyce wasn’t sure in the beginning what she wanted to be, but she did know she loved art and being creative. This developed into doing people’s make-up and hence, Joyce had found what she was meant to do. She gave some very good advice to the children, ‘Do something that you love!’
Susan Furniss-Radley, a pilot, brought the children on a pilot’s typical day, starting at 4am. Susan knew from a very young age what she wanted to be and explained to the children that there were some obstacles in her way, but she found ways to overcome them-very sound advice for all of us. The children were intrigued by her account of her working day and the places she has been, inspiring some already to follow in her footsteps.
Linda Wall, a teacher/accomplished sports star regaled us with stories of her ladies football career from the age of six. Linda has played at the very highest level of her sport, but when answering one of the children’s questions about her fondest memory, she explained how it had to be the friendships she made along the way.
Martina Landers, an electrician, amazed us when she told us that she is only one of seven female electricians in Ireland. A statistic which demonstrates that there is still huge disparity in some careers. She spoke of her father and how he was her inspiration for becoming an electrician, demonstrating the importance of surrounding yourself with people who inspire you and encourage you.
Marcella McGovern, a former teacher/principal of St. Mary’s PS, explained how she loved her career because of the wonderful children she met along the way. She too told us how she met obstacles when she first decided to go to college, but advised the children that anything is possible with determination and a dream.
Fidelma Moore, a nurse, told us why she loved her job and the people she met while doing her job. She entertained us with stories of times gone by and how helping her mother look after her Dad when he was sick inspired her into her chosen career. A listening ear and kindness, she explained to the children, are key to being a good nurse.
The children were enthralled and enthused by the presentations of the speakers. It is so important for all children to have a dream and be encouraged to follow their dreams. We are indebted to the women who came in and spoke to the children, inspiring role models indeed.