International Women’s Day 2018 #PressforProgress

BITCI News - Mar 08, 2018

International Women’s Day is a worldwide event that celebrates women and highlights gender equality. With the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report findings telling us that gender parity is over 200 years away, the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day 2018 is #PressforProgress. To mark the day in Ireland hundreds of events are taking place around country. We are taking the opportunity today to shine a light on the progressive workplace practices of our member companies and some of the events they are hosting and participating in.



Northern Trust, Dell EMC, Johnson and Johnson, Bank of Ireland and WiSTEM2D in association with The University of Limerick will be running the International Women’s Day Conference. Up to 150 participants from across the University sector, local business networks and the local community are expected to attend.



Premier Lotteries have had a significant increase in the number of women sitting on both their Operation and Non-executive Boards. This is a big difference to two and a half years ago when they had no female representation on either . Today Premier Lotteries have 3 women sitting on Ops Board and two of their incoming non-executive directors are women.

The company has several programmes in place which, although not uniquely for women to avail of, contribute to helping women to maintain a good work/life balance. These are:

  • Flexi time – this is a flexible system of attendance for employees with ability to vary their times of arrival and departure, and to take flexi leave when sufficient credit is accumulated.
  • Term Time – this enables employees to take a period of unpaid special leave of between 2 and 13 weeks between June and August. This is a hugely beneficial scheme, allowing employees to spend quality time with their children while they are on summer holidays. In addition, for those who avail of the scheme, the pressure to find suitable childcare for this period is removed.



Fujitsu are delighted to be co-sponsoring The International Women’s Day event in association with the Dublin Chamber on Thursday March 8th at the Alex Hotel Dublin. This event will celebrate Ireland’s successful business leaders and female entrepreneurs.  The guest speaker on the evening is Geraldine Swarbrigg, a very successful female entrepreneur who along with her family set up the Inglot Beauty Brand in Ireland. Other speakers on the evening will include Ericia Sheenan, Homespun Foods, Roisin Lafferty, Kingston Lafferty Design, Niamh Herrity, Pink Kong Animation who will discuss their careers, challenges encountered and offer practical advice to other female leaders.

Fujitsu’s very own Women’s Business Network will be taking a stand to promote their  internal network, the benefits to members and encouraging other companies to do the same.



The Professional Women’s Network in State Street are hosting an internal Panel Discussion and Networking Lunch in their headquarters to mark the day. The panel will discuss the important findings of the recently published 30% Club research: Making the Change Count – A Study of Women in Financial Services.



AXA aims to engage as many of their employees as possible across all sites to raise awareness of gender parity and reinforce that gender equality at AXA is about ensuring women and men are given equal rights at work.

Overview of IWD 2018 at AXA Ireland:

  • The day will begin with a communication from Amanda Blanc, UK & Ireland Group CEO highlighting the Key messages for IWD and why moving towards Gender Parity is of importance to AXA UK & Ireland.
  • In conjunction with our current Mental Health Awareness programme, Barbara Brennan, who works closely with “See Change”, will host a lunch time session on personal resilience and promoting positive mental health and wellbeing.
  • Afternoon Tea with Alison Comyn. Promoting the IWD theme, #Pressforprogress, our keynote speaker Alison Comyn joins us to speak about Personal Brand, the difference between how men and women communicate and an important message; you are your best asset.
  • International Women’s Day quiz to be circulated to all employees with spot prizes.
  • Promote #Pressforprogress Actions by having rolling communications internally throughout the day.



Friends First is pleased to be turning some of the trends in Financial Services on their heads within their Investment Division.

Management and investment strategy for the Friends First Commercial Property funds and range of Portfolio funds (Magnet and Compass) are led by a female Investment Management team.  As a business Friends First are proud to recognise the achievements of these innovative women in a sector where females are currently under-represented. Their experience and insights have contributed to the success of these funds ranges and has had a significant positive impact on our business.

As Senior Property Fund Manager, Suzie Nolan is responsible for all aspects of property fund management, including strategy, liquidity management, reporting and communication. Suzie is a Fellow of Chartered Accountants Ireland, QFA qualified and holds a BA (Hons) in Business and Sociology from Trinity College.

Patrizia Libotte holds the role of Director of Multi Asset Funds with responsibility for managing our range of  of multi asset portfolio funds.  A graduate of UCD in International Commerce with German, Patrizia holds a Master’s degree in Quantitative Finance and a Master’s degree in International Business from the Michael Smurfit School of Business.

Claire Solon is Head of Property with responsibility for approx. €600m of property assets as well as strategies for the property portfolio including asset selection and acquisition, disposals and all asset management functions. Claire is a Fellow of the Society of Chartered Surveyors where she is immediate Past President and a Fellow with RICS.

Pictured are from Left to Right, Suzie Nolan, Patrizia Libotte and Claire Solon.



For the centenary of women’s suffrage in Ireland in 2018, KPMG as part of their ‘Family for Literacy’ programme are partnering with Children’s Books Ireland’s on the BOLD GIRLS project. BOLD GIRLS will launch on International Women’s Day, at the Old Library in Trinity College. BOLD GIRLS project aims to break down societal barriers and to instil confidence in girls and young women by showing them female characters in children’s books with agency, power and opinions.  For more information about BOLD GIRLS, visit


As part of International Womens Day, Siemens Healthineers in Swords are organising a collection for Aoibhneas, a women’s and children refuge located in Coolock. Collection boxes have been placed around the Siemens Healthineers site where employees can donate clothing and toiletries.


eir are sponsoring the Dress for Success International Women’s Day campaign again this year. The campaign, will see workplaces and individuals across Ireland raising funds and holding clothing collections to support the invaluable work of Dress for Success.



To mark International Women’s Day, Johnson and Johnson will take part in the #PressforProgress conference at University of Limerick (UL) with Northern Trust, Dell EMC and Bank of Ireland. Kyran Johnson, General Manager, Janssen Sciences Ireland, will participate in a panel discussion focused on the challenges facing women in STEM.  A number of second and third year UL students involved in J&J’s WiSTEM2D (Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Manufacturing, and Design) programme will be presented with awards at the conference.

Established in 2015, the programme is part of J&J’s commitment to building a diverse WiSTEM2D community by mobilising brilliant minds that ignite great ideas.



Transition year students are visiting Fidelity’s Galway and Waterside offices for a half day to take part in STEM based workshops to hear from women in Fidelity on “A Day in The Life” of their jobs.



Sodexo is running a number of activities and communications to mark IWD. Research from the World Economic Forum has predicted it will take 217 years to achieve gender equality, and so this year Sodexo’s campaign theme is ‘#IWDeveryday’ because they think 217 years is too long to wait for equality and they want to #pressforprogress. Sodexo have a number of communications being launched across their business to activate the campaign and to encourage people to contribute their ideas. These communications include; posters, a video, an awareness raising quiz and features in all of their internal and external communication channels.

To mark the occasion they are also making a number of webinars available to employees on topics such as flexibility, moving beyond bias and managing your personal brand. They are also hosting a ‘Women in Engineering event’ in partnership with BIFM and are fielding speakers to external conferences, where they will discuss Sodexo’s commitment to gender balance.Those external to Sodexo will be able to follow the campaign on our Blog, Twitter and Facebook accounts.



Deloitte are proud to be celebrating International Women’s Day this Thursday. They will be embracing the successes of all the women in the firm but this year in line with the global theme of #pressforprogress they will be supporting Debra Ireland with their mission to support those suffering with Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB) and progressing the research that is ongoing for this illness. Two of their female partners – Valarie Daunt and Eimear McCarthy will travel to the Arctic next week with 18 other like-minded women to trek through this harsh and unknown environment for 5 days to honour the mothers of children who suffer from EB. The mothers of these children are usually the main care-givers of this torturous condition and for this reason, the expedition will be a female only one. They will also have a panel of inspiring Deloitte women on the day, who are all doing amazing things in addition to their Deloitte roles, including representing Northern Ireland at the Commonwealth Games next month, co-founding an app for buying and selling pre-loved clothes, directing theatre groups and completing a charity cycle in memory of a female colleagues who loved to cycle!



William Fry will be supporting Dress for Success Dublin’s International Women’s Day 2018 campaign this year as part of their Making a Difference Diversity & Inclusion programme.Speaking about William Fry’s support of the campaign, Diversity & Inclusion Partner Eavan Saunders said: “Every year we do something to mark International Women’s Day and celebrate the incredible women we have working here in William Fry. This year, we decided to build on previous activity and do something a little different by organising a clothing collection for Dress for Success. We believe in supporting women and helping them to reach their greatest potential and that starts by helping to remove the obstacles women can face trying to return to or break into the workplace. Like Dress for Success Dublin, we believe in empowering women and I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate International Women’s Day then by helping to support the economic independence and career development of women in Dublin.”

Staff at William Fry will be doing a clothing collection and holding a coffee morning on Thursday, 8 March in support of this important cause.



To celebrate International Women’s Day on Thursday March 8th, Oracle Women’s Leadership group will host Press for Progress, an inclusive event for all employees where you will be encouraged to fear less and do more!  Employees will hear from a panel of Entrepreneurs, each of whom have followed their passion and have pressed ahead to start their own business. Followed by an  inspirational  workshop with Kerry Lyons, author of The Imperfect Life Planner. Kerry will give you the tools to wipe out every fear that might be holding you back in work life or personal life, leaving employees  motivated to press for progress.



Across the network PwC  are committed to celebrating International Women’s Day because gender equality is an economic and social imperative. To shape the debate, and help accelerate change, both at PwC and in business at large, they release a seminal piece of ground-breaking thought leadership on International Women’s Day each year. This year’s global research publication ‘Time to talk: What has to change for women at work’ focuses on the critical theme of female career development and advancement. The report shares the insights of over 3,600 women from across the world, including Ireland, and highlights that women are more confident and ambitious than ever, but employers still need to work harder to address issues of gender equality in the workplace and empower female advancement. It puts forward an ecosystem of three key strategies that employers must make a fundamental part of their wider diversity efforts if they are to accelerate change. Find out more at and



To celebrate International Women’s Day, Symantec have created a theme on Gender Parity & Press for Progress . As part of their celebrations they are hosting the students from Newcross College whom they are partnered with on BITCI’s Skills@Work programme. Symantec have planned a morning of fun activities including podcasts and group discussions along with Key Note Speaker – Clodagh Hughes The morning will be rounded off with lunch for the students. Later in the evening Symantec are hosting a live stream International Women’s Day Panel Discussion – Donna Kostigen hosts a panel of women leaders throughout Symantec. Social Media campaign #SymantecLife, #PressForProgress, #SymantecEMEA, #iwd2018

These worthwhile events are bringing women leaders from various business sectors as diverse as finance, insurance and science to support and inspire women all around Ireland. A wonderful demonstration of business impacting on the wider society to empower the girls and women of today to become the leaders of tomorrow.