Waking The Feminists Public Meeting, 8 March 2016

Waking The Feminists Public Meeting, 8 March 2016

Loretta Dingnam, Chair of the Abbey Theatre’s Gender Equality Sub-Committee

Waking The Feminists Public Meeting, 8 March 2016

Thank you very much for the opportunity to attend today and to speak on behalf of the Abbey Theatre at this public event on International Women’s Day and to be part of this very important national conversation.

As a direct result of the Waking the Feminist movement and that historic public meeting on 12 November 2015, the Board of the Abbey Theatre established a Gender Equality Sub-Committee comprised of Deirdre Kinahan, Niamh Lunny, Mark Ryan and I. I was subsequently appointed as Chair. Our remit is to develop a comprehensive Gender Equality policy and action plan for the Abbey Theatre.

Since 12 November 2015 we have been hugely focused on the issue of Gender Equality. We have been engaging with a wide variety of stakeholders within the Abbey Theatre, including staff and the incoming directors and across the wider theatre and arts community in Ireland, the UK and the US.

It has been a fascinating journey for all of us, so far. We have learned many, many things, but one thing that we have learned is that this is a complex issue that will require change in many areas simultaneously, from leadership to values and culture, from structures to processes and ways of working and from measurement to evaluation and reporting. Such is the complexity and importance of this topic that we need to invest time at this stage to get it right… for now and for the future.

So at what point is the Gender Equality Sub-Committee of the Abbey Theatre right now?

We are just about to conclude our stakeholder engagement piece and are moving into drafting policy, with the intention of sharing that with the Abbey Board. With three ministerial appointments to the Board of the Abbey Theatre we must follow due process and governance. We must therefore have this Gender Equality policy and Action plan reviewed and approved by the Abbey Board. And once that policy is approved by the Board we will begin implementation.

We look forward to updating you on our progress again in due course.


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