It is clear from reading this article that Ireland still has a long way to go before becoming a gender neutral society.
As we all know gender balance and equal pay are at the forefront of most peoples minds these days. However, it is hard to see how Ireland will be able to achieve this and indeed come into line with the steps already being taken in the UK. There is obviously a level of unconscious bias that impacts the organisation of similar events, coupled with the fact that women may also find speaking at or attending such events unappealing. This could be for a variety of reasons, but one that springs to my mind is that the audience is predominantly male.
It seems that both thought processes need to change in order to make this imbalance a thing of the past.
Speaking to The Irish Times on Tuesday evening, Joe Mulholland, defended the number of women speaking at the annual conference in Glenties, Co Donegal, saying he had done his best to ensure a fair representation but that at times it was difficult to find “the person with the correct aptitude for some of the topics that are discussed in sessions”. A draft programme of the event shows there are 45 male speakers and moderators compared to 15 female speakers and moderators. Speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Sean O’Rourke, Mr Mulholland apologised for his use of language saying it “was a totally wrong term to use..." “Efforts have been made by me over the years to have a gender balance. But then we have other balances that we look after as well, political, social economic balance and so on.”