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MacGill Summer School to hold session on why it hasn't embraced gender balance following controversy

The Director of MacGill said, “We are determined to do all that we can to redress this imbalance”.

File photo: Róisín Shortall and Catherine Murphy
File photo: Róisín Shortall and Catherine Murphy
Image: Leah Farrell via RollingNews.ie

THE DIRECTOR OF MacGill Summer School has released a statement this evening saying that the school is working to include a programme on why MacGill and other organisations and public forums in Ireland have not embraced effectively gender balancing.

It comes after the event was criticised this week for only having about 20% female representation in its panel events.

Social Democrats co-leaders Catherine Murphy and Róisín Shortall have said they will withdraw from their respective panels unless significant changes are made to the gender-balance of panels across all sessions

The Director of MacGill Summer School Joe Mulholland spoke to TheJournal.ie earlier today and said that he ‘tried his best’ to achieve balance in this year’s line-up.

In a release this evening, he said the school was working to include two new sessions in this years programme. “One will focus on the recent referendum on Repeal of the 8th Amendment.

The other session will be tasked with cutting to the very heart of why MacGill and other organisations and public forums in Ireland have not embraced effectively gender balancing.

“To achieve this we need help and I would ask our audiences and particularly women to assist us in transforming MacGill 2018 by participating in the debates in Glenties which will help establish new foundations in our ongoing pursuit of building a better Ireland in the years ahead.”

Acknowledging the gender balance issue, Mulholland said MacGill had “fallen short of the very high standards for which MacGill has become known and which has led to audience growth year on year.

Without question, women are under-represented numerically on our panels notwithstanding the strengths and high calibre of those women who accepted our invitation to contribute.

“This is something we very much regret. In hindsight, it is reflective of an Ireland undergoing change, albeit slowly, and which still in 2018 has significant and widespread under-representation of women across many areas of public life.

“We are determined, in the short period remaining before MacGill 2018 commences, to do all that we can to redress this imbalance.”

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