International Women's Day
We’re raising a glass to women everywhere this International Women’s Day on 8 March. Despite the persisting gender inequalities, women continue to make trail-blazing contributions to public service, science, economics, education, sport, and culture.
Despite its small size, Northern Ireland has no shortage of remarkable women doing remarkable things. The Linen Hall Library in Belfast has launched its extraORDINARY women project which celebrates the contributions of local women both past and present. Over 50,000 pages and images from the archive tell the stories of the ordinary changemakers who defied the odds and fought tirelessly to leave their extraordinary mark on the world.
The women of Northern Ireland have a colossal track record as high achievers and innovators. And 2021 was another mammoth year. Here’s a snapshot of our brilliant women in 2021.
Scientist and astrophysicist Dame Jocelyn Bell was awarded the world’s oldest and most prestigious scientific prize: the Royal Society’s Copley Medal. She’s only the second-ever woman to be awarded the Copley Medal. And rightly so – her work on the discovery of pulsars was a major astronomical advance of the twentieth century. Dame Jocelyn takes her place amongst acclaimed scientists of the past like Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, and Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin.
Dr Lindsay Broadbent is part of the global team of top scientists who have been working around the clock to find effective treatments for Covid-19. Dr Broadbent is a virologist who specialises in studying how viruses interact with our airways and causes diseases in the lungs. Dr Broadbent confirmed that despite it being early days, her team have made significant breakthroughs in the fight against Covid-19.
In Public Service
Dame Siobhan Keegan is making waves in the Northern Irish judicial system as she was appointed the first Lady Chief Justice. Her appointment is a prominent statement to women in the legal profession, of the opportunities available and all that can be achieved.
Likewise, Jayne Brady became the first female Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service. Brady is well equipped to face the huge task of leading the public sector on rebuilding and delivering for the people of Northern Ireland in a post-pandemic climate.
Lisa McGee, award-winning creator, writer, and producer of Derry Girls, confirms that the much-anticipated TV show will return to screens for a third and final season. Since airing in 2018, Derry Girls has been nominated for a whopping thirteen awards and it’s gone on to win eight. And if the successes of past seasons are anything to go by, the final season is sure to be no exception!
Singer-songwriter and electronic composer Hannah Peel was shortlisted for the highly esteemed 2021 Mercury prize. This accolade joins her previous Emmy nomination. The musician is passionate about breaking the stereotype and inspiring more female artists to make electronic music. Peel also joins Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody as an official Belfast Music patron, after Belfast was awarded UNESCO’s City of Music title.
In football, Northern Ireland’s Senior Women’s team are set to become full-time ahead of the 2022 UEFA Women's Euros – a major milestone for the future of women’s sport in NI. It’s also the first major tournament the team have competed in. The team’s future is looking bright.
Gold-medallist and champion swimmer, Bethany Firth has bagged her sixth gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. And with nine Paralympic medals already under her belt, there’s no stopping this talented twenty-five-year-old.
On the Podcast
2021 was a year of inspiring, honest and heart-warming conversations with our diaspora on the NI Connections podcast.
We spoke to Eimir McSwiggan, world champion Ice Climber from Co Tyrone, who’s been living and working in South Korea since 2010. With six World Cup medals already in the bag, Eimir is passionate about sharing her love for climbing. She dreams of bringing competitive Ice climbing back to Northern Ireland in the not-so-distant future.
We couldn’t be prouder of all those women from Northern Ireland have accomplished over the past year. We’re certain that 2022 is going to prove to be another ground-breaking year as women continue to achieve, innovate, and smash that glass ceiling.
To all our female diaspora – we celebrate you, especially on this International Women’s Day!