Bangor Rotary Club hosted 100 sixth form students from Bangor’s post-primary schools at a high-powered panel discussion to celebrate International Women’s Day 2017.
The all-female panel which included spoke of their own careers and the particular challenges and opportunities facing women in their professions.
The panel consisted of:
- The Honourable Justice Siobhan Keegan (one of the first female appointments to the High Court in Northern Ireland),
- Lesley Hogg (Chief Clerk of the Northern Ireland Assembly),
- Kellie Armstrong, MLA
- Professor Yvonne Galligan OBE, Queen’s University Belfast
- Sinead Fox-Hamilton, McKinty Associates
- Marianne Kennerley, BOOM! Studios
The panelists highlighted the growing number of opportunities that a resurgent Northern Ireland can offer both men and women who have the ability and determination to stay the course in whichever area of expertise they choose with a particular emphasis on the lack of barriers to success for women.
Introduced by Bangor Rotarian Sarah Havlin, The Certification Officer for Northern Ireland, panel members answered questions from the audience many of whom were hoping to build careers in law, politics and business.
“I’m honoured that such distinguished and successful women have supported our event but I’m also delighted that we will also be joined by some young women who are emerging leaders and influencers in the worlds of business and in social enterprise. Marianne Kennerly and Sinead Fox-Hamilton are women working very successfully in exciting roles here in Bangor.
“It doesn’t feel like that long ago when I was a Bangor school girl myself, thinking about University and career pathways. Despite the advances made by women, I know that it’s never easy for a young woman to imagine herself as a potential leader, particularly if she doesn’t have real role models to inspire her and open her eyes to possibility.
“Now after 25 years since leaving school, I think that it’s important to share the benefit of my career experience and my networks with our local young women.
“This will hopefully help them in making their own career choices and I really hope come away from this event with a new or renewed ambition of aspiring to leadership.”
Bangor Rotary President Gavin Walker added, “This event is one of the most important we have held during my year as President.
“I am thrilled that Sarah has been able to create such an outstanding panel of successful women from across so many professions. Hopefully they will inspire our young audience to aspire to great things as their school careers come to an end and they make important decisions for their futures.
“Statistics show that girls outperform their male counterparts throughout school but that many of them seem to have more difficulty in carving a successful careers for themselves post-education. What we hoped to achieve today was to instill in the girls a belief that they can carry their academic success into the world of work and use the same skills they already possess to achieve everything they want in their chosen career path.”