International Women’s Day – Panel Discussion

IOM Ireland and AkiDwa celebrate 20th Anniversary with panel discussion on International Women’s Day


DUBLIN, MARCH 12- IOM Ireland hosted an online discussion with an all-female panel of Diplomats to mark International Women’s Day.

The event, ‘Women leaders breaking the glass ceiling’, which was attended by 50 people, was part of the 20th anniversary of IOM in Ireland and listed as panellists women Ambassadors accredited to Ireland and representatives from the Irish government.

The panel was organised in partnership with AkiDwa, a key NGO that seeks to empower migrant women. It focused on the crucial role of women in the COVID-19 response and recovery efforts.

This year’s International Women’s Day theme, ‘Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world’, celebrates the tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The reality is however, that effects of COVID-19 have exacerbated existing inequalities among women and girls across the world and at the same time women have played a disproportionate role in response to the virus as front line workers and carers”, said IOM Ireland Chief of Mission, Lalini Veerassamy.

The panel discussion, moderated by The Irish Times journalist Sorcha Pollak, also raised awareness on the disproportional burden that women around the world have experienced as a result of the pandemic; the increased domestic violence, unpaid care duties and unemployment.

“The impact of schools closing definitely has more of an impact in general on women than on men and there is a tendency in the media and even in political discourse as well to downplay the idea of domestic responsibilities and trying to work full time at the same time as perfectly feasible. It is worrying because it feeds into the idea that paid work  is work but unpaid work is not,” said Political Director of the Department of Foreign Affairs in Ireland, Ms. Sonja Hyland.

Panellists also outlined the importance of role models and gender representation as a form of  empowerment for young women and girls. High Commissioner for Bangladesh to the United Kingdom, and Ambassador to Ireland, Her Excellency Ms. Saida Muna Tasneem encouraged young women to challenge gender stereotypes

“Challenging the system is extremely important, why is it that women do not have equal pay?, why is that there are no special services for women who are staying at home working, their voices must be raised, they must never be quiet.”, she said.

The event also served as an opportunity to thank the Government of Ireland, NGOs and civil society for their continued support, which has been essential for the IOM mission in Ireland during its first 20 operational years.

For additional information: Deborah Miranda, Sr. Communications Assistant, IOM Dublin.

Highlights of the event: