International Women’s Day (IWD) will be celebrated across the world and in Clare by businesses, voluntary organisations and charity groups today, Wednesday, March 8th.
Beckman Coulter is this week reaffirming its commitment to a fairer and more equitable workplace by hosting a series of International Women’s Day (IWD) events celebrating the achievements of the company’s top female talent.
The biomedical device maker based near Tulla, Co Clare, is marking the March 8th event by bringing together senior female staff from across the business for a panel discussion on their career development, the challenges they have faced, and the role progressive company policy plays in creating a diverse and inclusive workplace.
Beckman Coulter has also announced a new policy to support staff undergoing fertility treatment. Whilst the new policy is likely to have a greater uptake from female employees, the policy is extended to all employees regardless of gender and to staff whose partners are undergoing fertility treatment and provides up to five days paid leave a year.
The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is #EmbraceEquity. The global event is dedicated to raising awareness of gender inequality, bias, discrimination, to championing women and promoting inclusivity.
Commenting on this year’s International Women’s Day events, Beckman Coulter Vice President of European Operations Orlaith Lawler, said: “To me, equality means giving everyone the same; while equity means taking it to the next level and giving each individual what they as individuals need to succeed. This ensures that each individual has the same opportunity to progress in their area and makes sure that the support being given is lot more personal. Together, each one of us needs to actively support and embrace equity within our own sphere of influence.
“We can work collectively to impact positive change and help forge an equal world for everyone. It is fundamentally important to celebrate IWD which is why it really matters at Beckman Coulter. We support everyone on their career journey and do genuinely believe that a diverse workforce is best for all. The benefits and development of the individuals involved and the impact on company results have already been proven.”
Commenting, David O’Sullivan (Plant Lead) said: “It is wonderful to see all our female colleagues, partners, mothers, sisters and daughters all celebrated on IWD. We have intentionally made our Fertility Treatment Leave Policy available to all our employees regardless of gender, to demonstrate our ongoing commitment to embracing equity. Being a multi-functional site, we have a great range of career opportunities for people to grow and thrive. Embracing diversity, equity and inclusion adds value for our organisation by driving the Danaher core values and promoting a balanced and progressive workplace.”
R&D Manager Terry Rice will this week host a Beckman Coulter onsite event and panellists include Vice President of EU Operations Orlaith Lawler, Senior Director of Quality and Regulatory Affairs Cartha Donovan and Senior Manager Production Operations Joan Russell.
They will also be joined by Senior Manager in Global Product Technical Support Marguerite Deignan and Senior Manager in Technical Project Management Ruth Hanley.
In December 2022, the Irish MedTech Association presented Beckman Coulter with the Best Talent Strategy in Medtech Award at the Galmont Hotel. The company has an ongoing commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion which is demonstrated through its talent attraction and engagement and development strategies. Other awards presented to the company in 2022 included the Sustainable MedTech Company of the Year Award and the Most Effective Employee Engagement Strategy at the HR and Leadership Awards 2022 at Clontarf Castle.
Beckman Coulter employs over 550 people at its main strategic European site in Co. Clare and continues to lead the MedTech industry on the issues of gender equality and gender pay.
In the case of part-time staff, female average pay was higher than their male counterparts. Beckman Coulter works tirelessly to bridge the pay gap through a pay and talent strategy dedicated to advancing female career progression and increasing representation of women in the middle and upper pay tiers.
Among other commitments, Beckman Coulter has a diversity, equity and inclusion committee in place in Clare with cross functional and multi-level representation. The committee is tasked with the organisation of diversity, equity and inclusion events, education, and awareness.
Many of the firm’s diversity and inclusion efforts are informed by results of its annual employee engagement survey.
Meanwhile, Lough Derg RNLI is celebrating the lifesaving role of volunteers as the charity also marks International Women’s Day.
For generations, women have saved lives, launched lifeboats, and raised millions for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI). At Lough Derg RNLI Station, several women on both the lifeboat and in fundraising are continuing this lifesaving legacy.
Ania Skrzypczynska, a busy mother of one, joined Lough Derg RNLI as a volunteer crew member in 2020.
Ania, a Polish native, says she joined the RNLI because she wanted to ‘become part of the community after moving to Dromineer. After the first few training sessions at the lifeboat station I had got to meet really nice, friendly people and found it to be a great experience’.
‘Then after passing my assessments and going out on the lifeboat, it was like the beginning of an adventure for me. Being a mum of a small and very active boy, for the moment I am restricted with the amount of time I have to spare between my full-time job and family life. However, I know that in the future I will be able to get more involved in the life of the station.
I am looking forward to becoming a fully qualified crew member. I like new challenges and I want to channel it towards learning how to help others. And by living so close to Lough Derg, I want to learn more about the lake, its beauty and, its dangers.’
It is 54 years since the first woman qualified as an RNLI crew member, women make up around 12.3% of the RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew, a figure which is steadily growing.
Eleanor Hooker, volunteer helm at Lough Derg RNLI said: ‘International Women’s Day celebrates women’s achievements and the empowerment of all women’.
‘Irrespective of what role volunteers perform for the wider Lough Derg RNLI team, we are one crew and everyone is equal, it doesn’t matter if you are female or male, we are all working together to save lives and keep people safe.’
Ciara Lynch, volunteer crew at Lough Derg RNLI said: ‘If we can inspire other women and girls to think that this is something they can do too, it makes what we do even more rewarding’.
Doireann Kennedy, a sailor and volunteer crew at Lough Derg RNLI would encourage ‘anyone thinking about joining the RNLI, just give it a go. Even if you haven’t got any background on the water or don’t know your way around a boat, there are roles for everyone and the training and support is comprehensive’.’
Sue Kingswood, RNLI Inclusion and Diversity Manager said: ‘Creating an inclusive culture which supports diversity is key to our long-term sustainability. So, we’re working hard to make sure that a wide range of people see the RNLI as a charity where they’re welcome as volunteers, supporters or staff.
‘As we approach our 200th anniversary, women are now more evident in operational search and rescue (SAR ) roles throughout the RNLI than they have ever been before. They are also better represented across operational management and in SAR training roles, which is great to see.
‘However, we still have a long way to go to achieve the representation we would like, not only where women are concerned, but across a much broader spectrum of diversity too.’