Supporting Women in Geography (SWIG) Ireland: Confronting the role of gender and asserting the importance of the female voice
In this collection, several authors – ranging from early career to well established academics – consider the role of women and the female voice in academia. This compilation developed from a conference session organised by the Supporting Women in Geography (SWIG) Ireland group, at the Conference of Irish Geographers in University College Cork (UCC) in 2017. In the first piece, Ahern and Mc Ardle consider why this discussion is necessary at all, ruminating on examples from both within and outside of academia. Till then brings in her experience working in Ireland, the US and beyond, and reflects on the importance of including all voices, and challenges scholars to end gender discrimination in Ireland. Manzo then reflects on how female work in academia, similar to community organising, can be considered invisible, devalued labour (Daniels, 1987). Yet she focuses on the positives of this, outlining the women-centred community organising model, the social capital that is involved, and the range of activities for empowering women to alter the efforts in Irish academia to making this change. Meletis then widens this discussion with an international example of a group similar to SWIG Ireland, Inspiring Women Among Us (IWAU) in Canada. She reflects on the difficulty of being an inclusive group. These discussions are vital to tackling gender bias in Irish academia, yet all the authors agree this needs to be an ongoing conversation, a lived practice, and we hope this work inspires further contributions to this cause.
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