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(13-06-2017) Women and Austerity Conference Saturday 13th June

 Women and Austerity

  Women’s Studies Conference

 13th June, 2015, Room G02, Western Gateway Building UCC.


 Keynote Speaker: (10.00am - 11.00am)

 (Chair: Dr Elizabeth Kiely, UCC) 

Prof. Mary Evans, Centennial Professor at the Gender Institute, London School of Economics 


‘In this talk I shall discuss the ways in which women ‘engage’ with money: not just in terms of our access to it but in terms of the way in which women, in both real life and in fiction, have constructed, discussed and articulated relationships with having and getting money. Social science has already demonstrated that women’s connection to money is less certain than that of men and that money is a major cause of friction in the family. But my concern is less with this important evidence but more with the ideas, the assumptions and the traditions that – essentially – keep women ‘away’ from money and in doing so contribute to the ongoing material poverty of women.’ 


Panel 1 (11.15am - 12.45am) 

(Chair: Elizabeth Madden MA, Cork Feminista) 


Deborah O’Flynn MA (OSS Cork – One Stop Shop Domestic Violence Information and Resource Centre): on impacts on agencies dealing with domestic violence. 

Dr Anna Kingston (UCC) on the effects of cuts on those with disabilities. 

Louise Bayliss MSc (SPARK, Single Parents Acting for the Rights of Kids): on policy and single parents.


In the afternoon we will look at imaginative responses to austerity with: 

Panel 2 (1.30pm - 2.40pm) 

(Chair: Dr Róisín O’Gorman, UCC) 


 Galway page and performance poet Sarah Clancy will read from and talk about her work. 

 Rita Fagan (community and women’s rights activist) will speak about a Dublin initiative, the ‘Spectacle of Defiance and Hope’.


 FILM: (2.45pm - 4.10pm approx.) 

The day will finish with a screening of Treasa O Brien and Mary Jane O'Leary’s film about Ireland, austerity and daring to dissent: 

Eat Your Children Film  


Nominated for the Cine TALENT Award, JDIFF 1915; Official Selection, Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2015; Official Selection, Belfast Film Festival, 2015. 

Speaker Biographies

Keynote Speaker - Prof Mary Evans

I have taught Sociology and Gender and Women’s Studies for four decades and during that time have, amongst other things, been part of the group that established an M.A. in Women’s Studies at the University of Kent and published widely on aspects of feminist theory and fiction.  In recent years my interests have turned to three major themes: the impact of neo-liberal policies on the universities (Killing Thinking, published in 2004 ) , the place of detective fiction in literature ( The Imagination of Evil published in 2012 ) and most recently , not least because of the policies of ‘austerity’ ,the consistent repetition of gendered inequality ( The Persistence of Gender Inequality will be published by Polity later this year ). 

Panel 1

Louise Bayliss (SPARK) 

I graduated  from UCD with an MSc in Equality Studies in September 2011. I started working as a mental health advocate but lost my job after I revealed treatment of women patients in St. Brendan's Hospital (Grangegorman).   

In December 2011, I was a founding member of SPARK in response to the reforms announced in  Budget 2012. Since that time I have campaigned against these changes. I have worked on policy papers with Fianna Fail, Stephen Donnelly TD and Senator Zappone. 

I have written articles about these changes and appeared on TV and radio programmes to highlight our concerns.  I have also given oral evidence to the Oireachtas Committee on Education and Social Protection.  

I am also a founding member of Equality Budgeting ( ) and I have also given oral submissions to various Oireachtas Committees. 


Anna Kingston (UCC) 

Dr Anna Kingston has an MA in Women's Studies and a PhD in Social Policy. She is actively involved in disability organisations in Ireland. Her teaching is mainly on the topic of feminism and mothering/motherhood. Current research interests are contemporary mothering, gender, care and disabilities. She has given seminars, both nationally and internationally, relating to mothers of children with special needs. Anna currently holds a part-time position as UCC CARL-coordinator (Community & Academic Research Links) promoting collaborative research between community groups and students. Her publications include: Mothering Special Needs: a Different Maternal Journey, London: Jessica Kingsley, 2007, This book explores the lived experience of mothers raising a child with a learning disability, through interviews with mothers of children with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and Down syndrome. 


Deborah O’Flynn (OSS) 

Deborah O’Flynn (MA) is a graduate of UCC’s Applied Psychology Dept.  Having taught in the College for a couple of years, Deborah left to Co-ordinate a European Project facilitated through the New Opportunities For Women fund and managed by the Sexual Violence Centre Cork.  One of the main strands of the project was to provide training for volunteers working in Rape Crisis Centres to gain a professionally accredited qualification.  For the past ten years Deborah has Co-ordinated the OSSCork (One Stop Shop Domestic Violence Information and Resource Centre).  The OSS is a support services for those experiencing Domestic Violence, their concerned family members and friends and Professionals who come across DV in the course of their work. 

Panel 2

Sarah Clancy, Poet 

Sarah Clancy is a page and performance poet from Galway. Her most recent collection is ‘The Truth and Other Stories’ which was published by Salmon Poetry in 2014. Her other work includes two more collections-  ‘Stacey and the Mechanical Bull’ (Lapwing Press, Belfast, 2011) and ‘Thanks for Nothing, Hippies’ (Salmon Poetry, 2012), as well as a poetry CD called ‘Cinderella Backwards’ which she recorded with fellow Galway poet Elaine Feeney  in 2013.  Her poetry collections can be ordered on line from her long suffering publisher's website:  

She has been placed or shortlisted in several of Ireland’s most prestigious written poetry competitions including The Ballymaloe International Poetry Prize, The Patrick Kavanagh Award and The Listowel Collection of Poetry Competition.  For performance poetry Sarah has won the Cuirt International Festival of Literature Grand Slam Championships and has twice been runner up in the North Beach Nights Grand Slam. In 2013 on her second go at being Connaught’s representative in the all-Ireland Grand Slam Championships she finished as overall runner up. In March this year she was given the 2014 Irish People’s Poet Award. She is on twitter @sarahmaintains  and can be contacted by e-mail at  

Rita Fagan, Community Activist   

Rita is from a working class family in the Liberties, Dublin. She went to the sewing factory at 14. Through the 14 years there she became active in the Trade Union Movement. She spent 11 years voluntary and 1 fulltime in the Dublin Simon Community. From here she was sponsored by good people to partake in the Community & Youth work course in NUI Maynooth. On a placement from this course, Rita came to St. Michaels Estate. 28 years later she is still in this struggle with this grassroots community and is the director of the Family Resource Centre, Women’s Community Development Project. She has travelled widely and has been involved politically in the issues effecting Central America and Cuba. For 9 years she led a protest outside of the U.S. Embassy challenging U.S. foreign policy in the said region. She is also committed to the struggle of women at grassroots level who are very much on the margins and whose struggle on a daily basis is to survive structural poverty. Last, but by no means least, she believes that the struggle for justice and freedom not only embodies pain but also joy through celebrating our lives and the outcome of the struggle.

Women's Studies

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