Skip to main content

Speaker Bios

Professor Pat O'Connor

Pat O’Connor is Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Limerick and Visiting Professor, Geary Institute, University College Dublin. Her research interests revolve around gender: with a particular focus on organizational culture, leadership and management, excellence, micro-politics and masculinities/femininities in higher education. Her 120 publications include seven books and over 80 peer reviewed refereed journal articles (see Researchgate)Her most recent book, edited with Kate White, is Gendered Success in Higher Education: Global Perspectives, Palgrave Macmillan) She was the first woman to be appointed at (full) professorial level in UL in 1997 and was the first woman to be a faculty Dean there in 2,000. She has been involved in a number of international research consortia including FESTA, an EU funded project (2012-17) and one of the five members of theNational Review on Gender Equality in Irish Higher Educational Institutions (HEA, 2016). She has held visiting professorships at the universities of London; Aveiro; Linkoping; Deakin and Melbourne She is currently on the Advisory Boards of three research projects i.e. TARGET, CHANGE and NORDICORE and was editor of a Special Issue of Education Sciences on Gender and Leadership (2018).

Professor Maggie O'Neill

Professor in Sociology at University College Cork and a member of the Centre for the Study of the Moral Foundations  of Economy and Society.  Before joining UCC  Maggie was Chair in Sociology & Criminology in the Department of Sociology at the University of York; Professor in Criminology at the University of Durham and Principal of Ustinov College. A  feminist  sociologist,  criminologist and inter-disciplinary scholar her research activity includes the development of feminist critical theory; a focus upon innovative biographical, creative and participatory research methods; and the production of praxis - knowledge  which addresses and intervenes in public policy - specifically in relation to sex work, sexual exploitation, migration and the asylum, migration, community nexus.

Maggie  co-founded the Sex Work Research Hub with Rosie Campbell (and  co-chaired until December 2018 remaining a board member when she joined the Irish Sex Work Research Network December 2018) the Race, Crime and Justice  Network (with Gary Craig and Bankole Cole), The York Migration Research Network  (with Simon Parker) and co-founded the CrimNet at  the University of York.  A  member of the European Sociological Association for many years, a former Vice Chair and Chair of Research Network 3 'Biographical  Perspectives  on European Societies'. Maggie is  a board member of the Global Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies (HDHS) Network.

Research leadership has been instrumental in moving forward debates, dialogue and scholarship in the following substantive  areas: sex work and the commercial sex industry; sexual violence and sexual exploitation  (since 1989); forced migration and the asylum-migration nexus (since 1999) including a focus on race, crime and justice; innovative participatory, biographical, performative  and visual methodologies (since 1990). Before conducting ethnographic and participatory research with sex workers in 1989 she was immersed in a PhD on Adorno's Aesthetics of Modernism especially the transformative possibilities of art as well as feminist aesthetics.   The research was published in 1999 as Adorno,  Culture and Feminism by Sage Publications.

Maggie has supervised  and examined numerous PhD students to completion  and welcomes  PhD applications in these and other areas.

Dr Sandra McAvoy

Sandra McAvoy has recently retired after years of teaching on and co-ordinating UCC's MA in Women's Studies Course and also having taught for many years on Adult Ed. Women's Studies courses, both outreach courses and UCC based.

A graduate of Trinity College Dublin (History and Political Science), she has an MA in Women's Studies and a PhD in History.

Her PhD thesis, Aspects of the State and Female Sexuality in the Irish Free State, examined how the Irish state dealt with the issues of sexual crime, prostitution, contraception, abortion and infanticide in the period 1922-1949, with a focus on developments that resulted in the passing of the 1935 Criminal Law Amendment Act and a ban on the importing and sale of contraceptives. The issues she teaches on the MA in Women's Studies course include the history and politics of reproductive rights, the women's suffrage movement and women and politics.

Dr Liz Steiner-Scott

Liz Steiner-Scott’s research focuses on the social history of women in post-Famine Ireland. She is particularly interested in domestic violence against women in late 19th and early 20th century Ireland and the intersection between ordinary women’s lives and political/community activities in the decades preceding the foundation of the Irish Free State. During her time in the Department of History, Liz was Co-ordinator of the European Integration Studies B.A. and following her retirement in 2010, she continued to be an active member of the Teaching Team for the M.A. in Women’s Studies until 2016.  She has also volunteered with the organisation of the Archive for the Sexual Violence Centre Cork as well as the Cork LGBT Archive (Arthur Leahy Collection) that is now located in the Cork City Museum.

Dr Liz Kyte

Dr Liz Kyte has recently completed a PhD in UCC Women's Studies, 'Feminist Fusions: Irish Socialist Feminists, 1900s-1940s'.  Having taken the UCC MA Women's Studies in 2005, Liz focused on the links between trade unions and the Irish women's movement for her MA research.  Liz has a background as a development educator for international development agencies.  Liz's research interests include the history of Irish feminism, radical histories and feminist biography.

Michael Rowan

Michael Rowan served 37 years in the Defence Forces during which time he served on Peace Support Operations in the Middle East, Africa and the Western Balkans. From 2005 until his retirement he was Chief Instructor in Human Rights at the Defence Forces United Nations Training School Ireland (UNTSI). In 2012 he compleeted an MA in Womens Studies at University College Cork and his thesis addresses the Status, Role and Equality: The Experience of Women in the Irish Defence Forces. He is an independent member of the Oversight Group of Ireland’s National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security. Michael currently works with Citizens Information.

Senator Ivana Bacik

Ivana Bacik is a barrister and Reid Professor of Criminal Law, Criminology and Penology at Trinity College Dublin. She is a Senator for Dublin University (elected 2007, re-elected 2011 and again 2016). Her research interests include criminal law; criminology; feminist theory of law and equality law. She co-authored a major study on gender in the legal professions (Bacik, Costello and Drew, Gender InJustice, 2003); her other publications include Legal Cases that Changed Ireland (co-edited with Mary Rogan, Clarus Press, 2016). She chaired the Oireachtas Vótáil 100 Committee programme in 2018 to mark the centenary of women’s suffrage, and is currently convenor of the TCD Law School Athena Swan application process.

Judy Walsh

Judy Walsh is the Director of the UCD Equality Studies Centre at the UCD School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice. Her publications adopt an interdisciplinary approach to interrogating the field of equality and human rights law. She is the national expert on discrimination law for the European Equality Law Network, Vice-Chair of the Participation and Practice of Rights Project and collaborates with numerous human rights and social justice organisations.

Patrick Sheehy PhD

Scientific Director, Biotherapeutics Analytical Development, Janssen R&D, Janssen Sciences, Cork, Ireland

Graduated with a BSc in Biomedical Science and a PhD in Molecular Virology, both from University College Cork.   Joined Janssen in 2006 with primary responsibility for process technology transfer & scale up of both early and late stage Biotherapeutics.  In 2010, appointed Scientific Integrator for an Anti-influneza monoclonal antibody program where I was responsible for End to End process development.   In 2013, Joined the Manufacturing team onsite, where I lead a large operations team for over 3 years.   In 2016, I was appointed Scientific Director to lead the Biotherapeutic Analytical Development group within Janssen Cork.   In my current position, I’m responsible for Release, Stability & analytical troubleshooting activities for the entire clinical Biotherapeutic portfolio within Janssen.   I chair of the national BioForum Technical group under Biopharmachemical Ireland (BPCI).   In addition, we have several strong collaborations with academia in Ireland and the UK.   I’m married with two kids.   I’m an avid sports fan, play a bit of soccer, really enjoy long distance running and coach some local underage teams.

Rola (Hamed) Abu Zeid-O'Neill   

Adult Continuing Education (ACE), University College Cork (UCC), Ireland - Coordinator of Diploma in Women Studies, and Diploma in Development and Global Human Right Studies, and Certificate in Foundation Studies (Integration and Social Cohesion).  PhD student, Department of Sociology, UCC, MA Peace and Development Researhc, Gothenburg University, Sweden, BA Geography, Haifa University, Israel (E-mail:

A PhD student of Sociology in UCC, and part-time lecturer in UCC. Rola is a political and feminist sociologist who has an interest in memory, ethnicity, conflict, Middle East, immigrant communities, women and Islam, Islamic feminism, and who has taught these topics in UCC and other places. Rola had more than 13 years’ experience in capacity building and women's and political empowerment organizations in Israel and Palestine.

Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Unit

Comhionannas, Éagsúlacht agus Ionchuimsitheacht

South Lodge, College Road, University College, Cork, T12 RXA9